L E H A V R E
N E W S
F E B R U A R Y Whitestone woman celebrates
her 106th birthday
Photo courtesy of Gina Bennicasa
WWW.QNS.COM | FEBRUARY 2018 | LEHAVRE COURIER 13
BY SUZANNE MONTEVERDI
email@example.com / @smont76
Rose Girone, who lives at Cryder Point in the
Beechhurst section of Whitestone, celebrated her
106th birthday with her family at an Italian restaurant
on Long Island earlier this month. The centenarian
credits a love of dark chocolate as one of her top
secrets to longevity.
The longtime Queens resident has led a remarkable
life. Girone was born on Jan. 13, 1912 in Poland,
according to her granddaughter Gina Bennicasa,
who calls Girone “Oma.” Girone lived in Vienna,
moved to Hamburg, Germany, and married Julius
Mannheim. The new couple then moved to Breslau,
Germany, which is now known as Wroclaw, Poland.
Shortly after in 1939, with Nazi aggression against
the Jews escalating, Girone, her husband, and daughter,
Reha, needed to leave the country. After finding
out China was the last remaining country that was
still accepting immigrants, the family departed for
Shanghai on a month-long voyage by sea and moved
into an international settlement.
After enjoying a brief period of peace, war touched
the family once more. The Japanese occupied
Shanghai and forced Jewish residents into a ghetto,
where Girone and her family shared a small room
once used as a bathroom. Food was rationed and hot
water was purchased from street vendors.
Aside from her family, the bright light that kept
Girone going through the tough times was knitting.
She was able to start a small business and save up
some money before she moved to the United States
after the war in 1947.
Girone eventually opened a knitting store, Rose’s
Knitting Studio, on Austin Street in Forest Hills,
which she operated for 40 years. There, the business
owner was able to explore her passion, coming up
with unique and intricate designs customers couldn’t
find anywhere else. She also sold knitting supplies
and taught classes to locals interested in learning the
“Here, I was able to start a business. It was a great
success,” Girone said. “I was well-known, gave
instruction and made up some crazy designs.”
“She was very popular on that block,” Bennicasa
added. “Some of the sweaters she has made are just
Eager to help others learn her trade, Girone
continued to teach classes at local senior centers
into her second century. After retirement, she also
helped a fellow entrepreneur, Dina Mor, open
up her own store in Port Washington called The
To show her appreciation, Mor threw a party at her
store for Girone’s 100th birthday. At the end of the
celebration, the business owner had a surprise for the
centenarian: a painter had quietly drawn the birthday
scene. The colorful painting now hangs in Girone’s
dining room for all visitors to see.
Girone has lived in Cryders Point since 1968, when
she married her second husband, the late Jack Girone.
Today, the centenarian likes to knit, eat dark chocolate
and read mystery novels, or whodunnits, as she
calls them. She enjoys good health and dressing up in
her knit creations.
Some of Girone’s other secrets to longevity are
always waking up with a purpose, having good kids
and not sweating the small stuff.
“Don’t let anyone aggravate you,” she said. “It’s
why you have two ears: in one, out the other.”
Bennicasa said she and her tight-knit family are
amazed most by Girone’s resilience.
“It’s been an unbelievable life. She’s always
remained positive, even when conditions were horrible,”
Bennicasa said. “It’s so good to have that
“Whatever happened, I was smiling,” Girone said.