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Jamaica man rings in 100th birthday in style

By Howard Koplowitz

Buzhardt, born Feb. 25, 1908, in South Carolina, was about 20 years old when he moved to Jamaica after getting a job as a cook at Aqueduct Race Track. He lived on the track site for $50 a month room and board.”During the Depression, that was good money,” he said.Buzhardt also drove his own taxi cab for 60 years, some of those while he was still working at Aqueduct.”Everybody was talking about New York,” Buzhardt said of why he chose to move to the city. “New York is the boss.”The centenarian, who was able to walk without a cane or walker, downplayed turning 100.”It's just one of those things, that's all,” said Buzhardt, who also did not have trouble hearing.The most drastic difference in life now and his childhood, Buzhardt said, is the proliferation of prescription drugs.”There's a lot more now,” he said.Anyone looking for advice on how to live to 100 cannot do anything more than hope, Buzhardt said.”There's nothing they could do,” he said. “Just trust in God and your doctors.”But his daughter, Lorraine Simpkins, said her father never smoked or drank in his life. She also credited his longevity to his mild-mannered personality and spending time with his 14 grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.”I think taking care of kids kept him alive,” she said.Simpkins said she and her family have been anticipating her father's 100th birthday ever since he crept into his 90s.”I think we always looked forward to it when the years kept going by,” she said.About 50 family members attended the celebration at St. Bonaventure in Jamaica, some making the trip from Maryland.Buzhardt was presented with letters of congratulations on the milestone from City Councilman Leroy Comrie (D-St. Albans), U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D-St. Albans) and President George W. Bush.Reach reporter Howard Koplowitz by e-mail at hkoplowitz@timesledger.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 173.

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