Community comes together to celebrate 106-year-old's milestone birthday

Janet Crampton with friends at her 106th birthday party.
Janet Crampton with friends at her 106th birthday party. Courtesy of Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights

Janet Crampton has done a lot of living in 106 years.

Born in Washington, D.C., on April 3, 1916, Crampton's earliest memories include when she was just 2 years old and had to stay inside because of the 1918 influenza pandemic. She attended the University of Maryland, where she joined the Kappa Kappa Gamma sorority and was the women's editor of the college newspaper, and after graduating in 1937, she became a dietitian in government cafeterias.

Crampton married in 1939, and her new husband owned a flooring business; while he was installing floors in the White House, Crampton was able to meet first lady Eleanor Roosevelt. At age 45, Crampton changed careers and became a teacher — and she still keeps in touch with her fellow educators and others she met while at Primary Day School in Bethesda.

Today, Crampton is as active as ever, spending her days playing cards, games, and bingo with her friends at the Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights senior living community in Chevy Chase, Maryland, and talking to her "two wonderful sons" who call her every day.

To celebrate her 106th birthday on Sunday, the staff at Brighton Gardens of Friendship Heights threw Crampton a party, inviting all of her friends and decorating the space with photos of Crampton from throughout her life. "Janet was tickled pink," business office coordinator Karen Seth told The Week in an email. "She was so honored and told us she felt like the queen of the day." For Crampton, there's no secret to living such a long and fulfilling life — when asked why she's made it to 106, Crampton always responds, "It's God's will."

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