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Thursday, October 30, 2014
Founder of East Meadow Chamber turns 100
(Page 2 of 3)
Penny Frondelli/Herald
Frances Silece Reder, celebrated her 100th birthday on Feb. 27 at Bristal Assisted Living in Westbury. Seated next to her sister, Dolores Storch, she was also joined by, from left, daughter Anne Jensen, sister Rose Reder, niece Marie Whitman, sister Regina Riccardi, daughter Rosemary, nephew Jimmy DeCarluccio and niece Connie DeCarluccio.

Reder is one of four surviving children of Rosaria and Charles Silece. Her sisters Rose, Regina Riccardi and Dolores Storch were on hand to celebrate with their sister. Her sisters Jean, Anna, Grace and Mary, and her brother, Frank, have all died.

“She’s a phenomenal gal,” said Riccardi, who spent years doing publicity for CBS, including work on the “Ed Sullivan Show.” “She has a beautiful family.”

Cori Vanchieri, Reder’s granddaughter, drove up from Maryland to attend the celebration. She said she idolized her grandmother as a child, when she lived next door to her in Westbury. “I saw my grandmother always involved with politics and the courts,” she said. “I looked up to her as this great businesswoman, and there was lots of love in the house, so I’m happy to be here today.”

East Meadow resident Steve Haller presented Reder with a Lifetime Achievement Award on behalf of the Chamber of Commerce, and recounted a past encounter with her. Years ago, Haller said, he was in court, paying a fine, when Reder approached him and greeted him warmly.

“She gives me a big hug and a big kiss,” he said, “and everybody’s wondering, who is this guy? She made me feel very welcome in the middle of the court.”

Midway through the party, Rosemary surprised her mother — and the audience — when she presented her with a letter from President Obama, congratulating her on her milestone birthday. “We are pleased to join your family and friends in wishing you a happy 100th birthday,” the letter read. “We are grateful for your contribution to the American story, and we wish you all the best in the coming year.” It was signed by both the president and first lady.

Rosemary, who studied special events at Cornell University, is the founder and president of the American Flag Society, a nonprofit organization that aims to preserve the integrity of the American flag. She helped plan the presidential inaugurations of George H.W. Bush and George W. Bush, and also worked on the transition teams for the Clinton and Obama administrations. She said she managed to “pull some strings” with former colleagues to arrange the presidential letter.

“We gave her a tribute that she certainly deserves,” Rosemary said, “because she did so much for so many for so long.”

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