Sun Choe, Mt. Laurel’s newest supercentenarian, said she had no secrets for living such a long life but she was happy nonetheless.
In 1908, Teddy Roosevelt was president of the United States, construction hadn’t even yet begun on the Titanic, and World War I was still six years away.
Yet Mt. Laurel recently celebrated one additional piece of historical trivia perhaps not as widely known — the year 1908 also saw the birth of Sun Choe, Mt. Laurel’s newest supercentenarian.
Born May 28, 1908, in what is now South Korea, Choe publicly celebrated her 110th birthday a few days early this year on May 24 when the Laurel Brook Rehabilitation & Healthcare Center hosted a special party to honor her long and healthy life.
Choe is one of about 40 Koreans living in the facility’s Korean Community Wing, so to help celebrate Choe, the event also featured traditional Korean food, music, dancing, singing and other entertainment.
After she spent her childhood in Korea under Japanese colonial rule from 1910–1945, and after experiencing the Korean War firsthand, Choe came to America in the mid-1980s.
Today her family includes more than 30 children, grandchildren and great grandchildren.
When asked through a translator about any particular secrets to such a long life, Choe said didn’t know why she had lived so long, but she was happy nonetheless.
Reflecting on the celebration, Choe said she never expected such a large party, and she almost started crying from being so happy.
“Everybody came to my birthday party, thank you so much,” Choe said. “I didn’t even spend money for this party prepared for me. I’m so glad.”
While speaking to a crowd filled with her fellow residents of the center, Choe said she had many more things she wanted to say about the party and turning 110, but she was too old remember them.
“A hundred times thank you very much,” Choe said.
Pastor John Sung, who founded the Korean Community at the center nearly a decade ago, also thanked the center for preparing the party for Choe, who moved to the center in 2015.
“If you see her, she’s in mostly healthy condition,” Sung said. “She has a little hearing problem, but she has real clear memories and she’s in real good condition.”
Also speaking at Choe’s celebration was facility administrator Jeremy Schuster, who said he couldn’t remember ever being at somebody’s 100th birthday party, let alone a 110th birthday party.
“God should bestow upon you many more happy and healthy years,” Schuster said.
Also on hand was Mt. Laurel Mayor Rich Van Noord, who presented a special proclamation to Choe on behalf of all of Mt. Laurel Township Council.
“God has certainly blessed her with a full life with more to go…as mayor, it’s not every day that I have the opportunity to acknowledge such a joyous and memorable event,” Van Noord said.