Herald Neighbors

East Rockaway resident living life to its fullest at 107


Nothing stops Henrietta Dobin, even at 107-years-old.

Twice a week, she still goes to the Nassau County Museum of Art in Roslyn Harbor to volunteer at the front desk and teach guests about the various pieces on display.

“Rain or shine, whatever, she always shows up,” said Julius Harris, the weekend coordinator for the museum, during a birthday party for Dobin at the Bristal Assisted Living at North Woodmere. “I have people half her age that call up and can’t make it because it’s nasty out. She comes.”

In her free time, Dobin goes shopping at Lord and Taylor and Nordstrom’s, plays bingo at the assisted living facility daily and takes half an hour each morning to accessorize the outfits that she picks out. She also “plays a mean game of bridge,” according to Belle Littenberg, one of the Bristal residents.

But the 107 years of her life have not all been as glamorous. Her husband, Solomon, died in 1990 and Henrietta suffered from a heart attack in her East Rockaway home shortly after.

“She sort of threw up her hands, and her daughter Myra said that, ‘After your husband died, you have to manage your own home,’” said Dr. Alan Markowitz, Dobin’s son-in-law. He added that his mother-in-law then became involved in the museum and continued to live an active lifestyle.

“I think that, more than anything, kept her going,” Markowitz said.

Dobin was born on Aug. 17, 1911, and met Solomon in 1930. They were married for 60 years and lived in Far Rockaway, Queens, until their children, Myra and Steven, were married. They then moved to East Rockaway, where Dobin lived for 35 years. She moved into the Bristal facility about a year and a half ago.

Throughout her life, Dobin said, she’s had many adventures. She hitchhiked to Texas to visit Solomon when he was in school, visited Russia once it was re-opened to American tourists and went to Israel after it reclaimed the Western Wall in 1967.

“There isn’t a thing that I haven’t done,” Dobin said. “I’ve lived a happy life.”

Now, Dobin has her two children, three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren to spend time with. When asked what the secret to a long life is, Dobin said that she doesn’t have one.

“You live life the way you want to live it,” she said, “and that’s it.”