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Celebrating 100 years of Jean: Outdoor birthday bash honors Eastwood resident

Jean Kurian, center, sits surrounded by 100 balloons and several attendees of her 100th birthday celebration at Eastwood Nursing Center on July 29. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

NEGAUNEE — The phrase “100 years young” could be used to describe Jean Kurian, a resident of Eastwood Nursing Center who turned 100 on July 29.

But how do you celebrate a 100th birthday during a pandemic?

Robin Burton, Kurian’s oldest grandchild said that Kurian’s family in Arizona “came up with the idea to celebrate with 100 balloons and 100 cupcakes since the pandemic prevented us from being there.”

Burton was able to work with the activity department at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee to coordinate and pull off all of the festivities as a surprise for Kurian.

The community response to ensure a fun 100th birthday celebration for Kurian was nothing short of amazing, Burton said.

Sunny Side Up plays celebratory tunes for Jean KurianÕs 100th birthday, which was celebrated at Eastwood Nursing Center in Negaunee on July 29. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

The morning of Kurian’s birthday kicked off with 100 balloons delivered by a Dollar Tree employee, who helped on his day off.

Adding to the celebration, 100 cupcakes in three flavors were designed and delivered by Midtown Bakery of Negaunee.

“Grandma loves any food loaded with carbs, so she had one of each,” said Burton. Growing up, there were always snacks, treats, candy or homemade desserts in their home, she said.

Some of Kurian’s local family members, including her son, daughter-in-law and granddaughters were able to take part in the festivities. They made a banner with the names of the five generations of family and even provided Kurian with a fashionable birthday crown.

Kurian and Eastwood’s residents even got to enjoy some outdoor live music by Sunny Side Up, as the front parking area was roped off and spaces were marked six feet apart so everyone could celebrate safely.

Residents of Eastwood Nursing Center enjoy live music by Sunny Side Up during Jean Kurian's 100th birthday celebration. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

Reflections on 100 years

Kurian was born and raised in Ishpeming. While she was employed at the Congress Restaurant in Ishpeming, she met her husband. They were married for 55 years and resided in Marquette, where she lived until 2016 when she moved to Eastwood.

Longevity runs in the family, as Kurian has two sisters who are both in their 90s currently living in Chicago.

While Kurian doesn’t have any secrets to living to 100, throughout life she has enjoyed being outdoors working in her garden and just sitting in the sun.

“She told me when she was in her 80s, the doctor suggested cutting back on sugar,” Burton said. “She asked me what I thought and I said: ‘Grandma, eat what makes you happy. Why change now?”

Ballons for Jean KurianÕs 100th birthday, which was celebrated at Eastwood Nursing Center on July 29, are delivered. Kurian's family wanted to surprise her with 100 ballons and 100 cupcakes for her special day. (Journal photo by Amy Grigas)

Kurian happily agreed with her granddaughter.

Overall, Burton said “memories are abundant. How lucky are we to have had her in our lives for 100 years.”

Amy Grigas can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248. Her email address is agrigas@miningjournal.net.

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