Asked about the secret to living a long life, Newark’s newest centenarian paused for a moment.
“I don’t know. I don’t worry too much,” Arline B. Joyce said. “Some people worry too much.”
Joyce turns 100 on Friday but celebrated a couple days early on Tuesday afternoon at Paramount Senior Living, where she has lived for two years.
Mayor Jerry Clifton honored her with a proclamation declaring her honorary mayor for the day.
“By the way, if you want to stay on as mayor, let me know and I’ll stay home,” Clifton quipped.
Joyce grew up in Wilmington near P.S. DuPont High School and went on to work in the accounting department at DuPont.
One night when she was out for drinks with friends, a man named Bill saw her from across the room and, clearly captivated, he approached her, struck up a conversation and announced he was going to marry her. She and Bill wed and enjoyed spending time with Bill’s daughter, Nancy.
After retiring, she and Bill sold most of their belongings and bought a 30-foot sailboat. They spent three years sailing around the Caribbean.
“It’s wonderful the things you see and the people you meet,” Joyce recalled this week.
They moved back to Delaware when Bill was diagnosed with ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig’s disease. After Bill died in 1988, Joyce decided to keep his memory alive by continuing their shared love of traveling.
“I liked Italy,” she said. “It has a romantic theme to it.”
Joyce lived independently until age 98, when she moved into Paramount Senior Living, located off Marrows Road.
“I don’t feel my age for some reason or another. I guess it’s because I’m pretty healthy. I’m lucky,” she said, adding that her mother and grandmother also lived to an advanced age. “I intend to be around for a while longer.”
She does have one regret.
“I wish Bill was here. He’d love this,” she said, wistfully. “He was a character. I still miss him.”