Vinecroft Celebrates Centenarians

Vinecroft, a Heritage senior independent living community in Clarence Center, NY, recently recognized a very special set of residents who all celebrated their 100th birthday, with some even nearing birthday number 103!

Patti Nigro, Vinecroft administrator, discussed how living an active life has made an impact on seniors who call Vinecroft their home. Daily activities, social outings and gatherings, and a culture richly steeped in philanthropy and community involvement provides Vinecroft residents with the ability to maintain a vibrant lifestyle. She shared, “I watch our centenarians zip and zoom around Vinecroft each day and it makes me smile. Their youthful spirits and positive attitudes are an inspiration to all of us!”

Pictured in photo from left to right: Larry Bisone, age 102, Emily Pratt age 101, Ethel Schleifer, age 100, and Betty Gillooly, age 100

When asked how they felt about reaching such a significant milestone, each of them had thoughts about how they have lived such long and healthy lives that allow them to still be so independent.

Larry Bisone,102, likes to spend time each day riding his exercise bike. He shared,“I don’t think of age as a number. I just keep moving and having fun.”

Emily Pratt, who turned 101 in July, believes that the secret to her longevity is tied to her strong faith and religion, saying “God is the reason I have lived this long, what other reason could it possibly be?”

Ethel Schleifer, age 100, is still active and much-loved in local groups such as the Mother’s Club of Buffalo. Ethel loves how Vinecroft gives her the opportunity to interact with so many in the community. “I feel like I am at my own memorial, except I can stand up and hug everybody!” Ethel and members of the Mother’s Club recently invited friends from a local church to join them in providing holiday entertainment for other Vinecroft residents to help spread the joy of the holiday season.

Betty Gillooly, the self-proclaimed “youngster” of the Centenarian Club at Vinecroft, just turned 100 on November 10, 2019. Betty agreed with Emily Pratt, and reflected that, “I have been blessed with a loving family, good health, and true friends. Who could ever ask for more?”


Heritage Ministries, the parent company of Vinecroft, was founded as the Orphanage and Homes of the Free Methodist Church in 1886 and has grown from its original campus in Gerry, NY, to six locations in New York with additional affiliations in the states of Washington, Illinois, and Pennsylvania. As a not-for-profit provider of senior care and housing, Heritage is a leader in the industry, employing approximately 1,500 team members, and serving over 2,500 individuals annually. With locations in New York, Pennsylvania, Illinois, and Washington, Heritage and its affiliates provide rehabilitation and skilled nursing services, independent retirement housing, and assisted living. The Homestead Stables provides intergenerational equestrian opportunities as well as boarding, training, and lessons. In addition, childcare is provided at two campuses, allowing for intergenerational programs. For more information on Heritage Ministries, please visit