Crowd wishes a 106-year-old a happy birthday


If Betty Belsito is not the oldest resident on the barrier island, we don‘t know who is. Belsito, of East Atlantic Beach, turned 106 on Feb. 24.

About 50 well-wishers gathered outside her home that chilly Friday evening to wave hello and wish her a happy birthday. She was unable to come outside, and for health reasons, the crowd was kept on the street.

Belsito waved to her birthday guests from her second-floor window.

Her daughter, Ann Nichols, of Palm Springs, Calif., stood by Belsito’s side.  Nichols said her mom has been on pain medication, but did know what was going on outside her window.

“She is very much awake,” said Nichols, a former stewardess for Pan American World Airways,  and later Delta Airlines, who plans to remain with her mom indefinitely.

Belsito was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and moved to the Midwest with her family when she was very young, according to her daughter. The family later moved to New Jersey and ultimately to the barrier island. Nichols said her mother was on the barrier island during the monstrous hurricane of September 1938, one of the most deadly and destructive in recorded history.

Belsito worked at a private beach in Atlantic Beach, checking passes of those coming in, her daughter said. Her husband died in 1972.