Wells Bridge native Bernice Goodrich Daley celebrated a century of life on Friday, Feb. 19.
Family, friends and community members will honor Daley, known to many as Bernie, with a drive-by parade through the Otsego County hamlet on Saturday, Feb. 20.
Darlene Winchester, Daley’s eldest daughter, said she and her siblings are eager to see their mom recognized for her 100th birthday. Winchester is one of Daley’s six children with late husband, William.
“She’s amazing. She gets up every day and still lives on her own,” Winchester said. “I said, ‘Mom, Saturday the fire department is going to have this little parade for you.’ She said, ‘Oh, really?’ and I said, ‘Yeah, Mom,’ and she said, ‘Well. Isn’t that something.’ She’s quite witty. We got a big banner for the front of the house and some balloons and we’ll bundle her up in a chair … so she can wave at everyone as they go by.”
Such a celebration, Winchester said, will be especially welcome, as the COVID-19 pandemic has drastically reduced Daley’s previously vibrant social life.
“COVID has really wreaked havoc,” she said. “This is a lady who went everywhere, did everything. Before, she was going to Eastern Star twice a week and bowling. And she went to the (Unatego Alumni Association) banquet every year; she never missed.
“Her bowling people still check in on her and send her cards,” Winchester continued. “Everybody just talks so fondly of her all the time.” Daley continued bowling, Winchester said, until age 98. She was inducted into the Tri-County Bowling Hall of Fame in 2016.
The Unatego Alumni Association also posted a call for well-wishes and birthday cards for Daley to its Facebook page earlier this month. Daley was a graduate of the class of 1939.
Daley is a 77-year member of the Eastern Star group and a lifetime member of the Wells Bridge Firemen’s Auxiliary, through which she was named Otsego County Member of the Year in 1993. She retired from Bendix in Sidney, now Amphenol, at 62. Daley also worked on the Wells Bridge Election Board “for many years,” Winchester said, and is “noted for her hand-painted cakes for family and friends.”
The birthday parade, Winchester said, was planned “for a couple of weeks.”
“When we asked the fire department, they said, ‘Absolutely,’” she said. “I’m sure there will be quite a few (participants), probably most everybody here in Wells Bridge. We’ve heard from all the auxiliary and church (members).”
Wells Bridge resident Gail Lindroth, Daley’s best friend of more than 30 years, said she, too, is looking forward to seeing Daley celebrated.
“Oh, yes. I sure will be (in the parade),” Lindroth said.
Lindroth, 80, met Daley in 1984.
“We got acquainted when I joined Eastern Star,” she said. “She started bowling and we bowled on two leagues for years. She went to tournaments and Eastern Star events with me and bowled right up until two years ago. I call her regularly and we talk and I tell her what’s going on. I’m hoping when it comes spring, we can go back to Eastern Star or I can take her down to watch the bowling.”
Lindroth said it’s Daley’s good nature that makes her special and keeps her young.
“She’s always got a smile on her face and is always ready to help anybody she can,” she said. “She’s just somebody you can sit down and talk to. One of her sayings, when people will say something like ‘Act your age,’ is, ‘How old should I act, at my age? I act how old I think I am.’”
Parade lineup will begin at the Wells Bridge Fire House, 116 county Road 4, Wells Bridge, at 11:45 a.m. on Feb. 20.