Anthony Leonard, 103, enjoys his April 30 birthday party at Shorehaven Senior Living in Sterling Heights.

Anthony Leonard, 103, enjoys his April 30 birthday party at Shorehaven Senior Living in Sterling Heights.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes


Sterling centenarian celebrates birthday with country music

By: Eric Czarnik | Sterling Heights Sentry | Published May 7, 2021

 Leonard, his family and his friends listen to performer Bobby Guskovict, aka Bobby G., play music during the birthday party.

Leonard, his family and his friends listen to performer Bobby Guskovict, aka Bobby G., play music during the birthday party.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

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STERLING HEIGHTS — After a year where life has been precarious and unpredictable for many, Sterling Heights resident Anthony Leonard recently celebrated reaching the age of 103.

Over at Shorehaven Senior Living in Sterling Heights — where Anthony has lived for nine years — he held his 103rd birthday party April 30. During the party, a performer played country tunes from Charley Pride and Loretta Lynn, according to Leonard’s daughter, Kathleen Leonard.

“He enjoyed the music at the party,” Kathleen said. “There was a guy who sang country and a little bit of rock, classic stuff. … I think he just likes talking to people and things like that.”

Leonard was born in 1918 in the U.S. and grew up in northern Michigan after his parents and five brothers moved from Poland in 1914. He reportedly caught and recovered from the Spanish flu — the famous global pandemic from the 20th century — when he was a baby.

As he grew older, he did farm work and also worked in Detroit during the Great Depression, doing work for the Works Progress Administration. He then served in the U.S. armed forces during World War II, serving in the North African and European theaters.

Leonard got married to Cecelia Kowalski after returning to the U.S. and lived in Detroit. His career spanned from working at the Hudson Motor Car Co. to meatpacking, and he eventually went into the latter industry with his own meat business until he retired in the 1980s.

According to family, Leonard ties his long life to eating well and loving his family. He currently has four adult children, as well as 10 grandkids and 13 great-grandchildren.

Kathleen Leonard lives in New York but traveled to attend the birthday party. She said her father enjoys talking to people, and it was tough for him to stay cooped up at home during the pandemic instead of socializing. But in the last several months, he has been able to go down to a common area and get some more interaction, she said.

“At the beginning when this was all happening, about five to six months into it, he said, ‘Did you ever think we would be going through this now?’” she recalled.

Shorehaven spokeswoman Heather Nikolovski called Leonard “one of our most easygoing residents.”

“He’s always very thankful for everything we help him with, and he always has a smile,” she said.

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