Scottsdale resident is 102 years young Tuesday, March 1

Celeste Appell-Epstein, middle, with Pat and Cat Patterson celebrating her birthday. (Submitted photo)

Celeste Appell-Epstein, middle, with Pat and Cat Patterson celebrating her birthday. (Submitted photo)

Celeste Appell-Epstein, born on March 1, 1914, has known many ups and downs along the way, to her 102nd birthday.

Born in Canada, the youngest of four siblings, she and her brothers and sisters were left at a Masonic Orphanage, in New York, when she was just 3-years-old. Celeste, was told that her parents were destitute, could no longer afford the children. She wasn’t close to her brothers, they raised in separately. She did maintain a relationship, with her sister. All of Celeste’s siblings have passed away.

After 15 years of institutional life, she was turned out, at age 18, with little or no idea of how to function in society. Additionally, she felt insecure socially, due in part to Strabismus, having had Crossed Eyes, from birth. With a substandard education, and no work experience, she lived with, and cared for her sister’s family, in New Jersey. Cooking, cleaning and caring for her niece.

Shortly after her 26th birthday, she met debonair and dashing, Nat Epstein. A divorcee, with a young daughter, eight years her senior, he soon, swept her off her feet. They began life together in New Jersey, and were blessed with two sons, Lee and Fred. The family relocated to California after WWII, residing in the San Fernando Valley.

They led a mid-American lifestyle, as the boys grew. Nat moved from electrical contractor, to  restaurateur, finally settling into the real estate profession. During those years, Celeste tried to become the mother, she’d never had, for the boys.

Due to her lack of family life experience, she often felt inadequate. It wasn’t until years later, that a family counselor, helped her understand, that it was difficult to achieve something, she’d never known or experienced.

With Nat’s passing, Celeste was left, having to learn to pay bills, and maintain the household. Those things, Nat had always taken care of. She continued the life of a widow, but began establishing community ties, through social activities, and her love of playing cards.

In 1998, her son Lee, helped her move to Scottsdale, and into Pueblo Norte, to be closer to his family. Unfortunately, shortly after the move, Lee divorced, and moved back to California.

Celeste’s friends from California, Pat and Cat Patterson, will join her for five days of birthday celebration, as they have for many years. They have made plans for dinner with friends. Her sons, both living in California, will join her one week later.

The Patterson’s, feel Celeste is one of the most inspiring people they have ever met. Despite all the adversity and tumult, throughout her 102 years, she always maintained her positive, and giving, attitude. Though lonely for her family, she has developed, and maintains many close friends, at the Pueblo.

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