RB centenarian proves Disneyland appeals to all ages
By Elizabeth Marie Himchak
Rancho Bernardan Jane Piraino reportedly drew a lot of attention on a recent trip to Disneyland with five of her family members.
It’s no wonder, since she was wearing a T-shirt announcing her 100th birthday.
“I went on everything with them,” Piraino said of the rides she enjoyed at Disneyland and its adjacent California Adventure. The only ride she opted out of was the large roller coaster.
“What a stir we made,” she recalled. “We were the first on all the rides and I enjoyed them all.”
The Disneyland Resort trip was her choice, after son, John, suggested going on a cruise.
“The packing is too much when you get old, so I said I wanted to do little things,” she said, explaining she chose Disneyland because she had not been there in a long time. She is also thinking about visiting Legoland in the near future.
The Casa de las Campanas resident said she and husband, Dr. Anthony Piraino, moved to Rancho Bernardo in 1979 following his retirement as a medical doctor in Overlin, Ohio. After briefly living in an Oaks North condominium, they settled in Eastview, staying there for about 18 years. From their home, she said they could see construction of the retirement facility, but her husband was not interested.
Piraino said his attitude changed when one day she asked him if he ever thought she might like to retire. After all, she was doing all the housework and gardening. His response was that he never thought about that and the next day they were at Casa selecting their new apartment.
The couple was married from 1936 until Anthony’s death seven years ago.
Piraino, who turns 100 on July 9 and will be marking the milestone with a big party that day at Casa with family and friends, said they met while medical students at Washington University in St. Louis. After a year, she left medical school and returned to the university, her undergraduate alma mater, for a teaching certificate in secondary education, while her husband completed his medical training.
Soon after, they returned to his hometown in Ohio, where they lived until his retirement. As for how they ended up in California, she said that was because her husband played in a golf tournament at the Rancho Bernardo Inn.
“We came out that summer and were so intrigued with the scenery and gorgeous hills,” she said. “Plus, the weather was awful back (in Ohio).”
The couple had two sons, Anthony Jr. “Chip” — who is taking his mother on a short vacation to Diamond Bar, Calif., following her birthday party; and John. Her family includes a granddaughter and five step-grandchildren.
Piraino attributes part of her longevity to her parents since her mother lived to 93 and father to 82. She said he would have likely lived longer had it not been for cancer.
“You have to start out with good genes,” she said. “Also, I’ve been very active all my life. I eat well, but am not fat or slim. So it’s exercising and eating well.”
Piraino said she played tennis and golf until age 82 when she was forced to give up both due to bad knees. Now her form of exercise is walking.
She continues to drive, but said she might have to give up her license in the near future because “my eyes are getting bad.”
As for other activities, those include membership in Rancho Bernardo Gardeners and Pi Beta Phi sorority. Both groups recently gave her “gorgeous birthday parties,” she said. She also continues a decades-old hobby of making tiny beaded flowers and assembling them in large arrangements.
Piraino said, “I can’t realize I’ve gotten this old,” an accomplishment she did not think likely since “I used to think 90 was the cut off.”
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