Greenwich’s Ruth Wilson Turns 105. Credits Longevity to Gratitude and Perseverance

Ruth Wilson celebrated her 105th birthday on Sunday surrounded by family, friends and staff at the Greenwich Woods Rehabilitation & Health Care Center where she resides. She received a formal proclamation from Town of Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo.

Ms. Wilson was born on March 12, 1918. She said that her 30s were her favorite decade, as she remembers motherhood and teaching kindergarten during those years. In fact, she taught First Selectman Camillo when he was in kindergarten.

Greenwich First Selectman Fred Camillo presenting Ruth Wilson a Certificate of Special Recognition for her 105th birthday milestone. March 12, 2023 Contributed photo

Ms. Wilson traveled widely throughout her life and has been to every continent. Her favorite place in the world is Santorini in the Greek Islands and her last big trip was to Antarctica, where she went just 20 years ago.

“I couldn’t have done all the traveling I did on a teacher’s salary though. I financed my trips by modeling. In those days, it was all print and catalog – I certainly didn’t walk the runway!”

Wilson modeled into her 80s, securing ads for UPS, Sprint and Pillsbury.

Ruth Wilson in an undated print ad for UPS. Contributed photo

Ms. Wilson has “seen a lot in her life.” Living through the Depression as a teenager and then as a new wife “was probably the most challenging period. Compared to the Depression, Covid was a breeze,” she said.

She also remembers the difficulties of the war, such as having to black out her windows every night.

“If there was even a slit, a neighbor would come and complain in fear,” she recalled.

She also remembers volunteering for “Horizon Watch” at Tod’s Point in Old Greenwich during World War II to spot enemy planes and submarines in the air and sea.

“Luckily I never saw anything,” she said.

When she was in her 80s, Wilson went white water rafting. Asked by her neighbor if she was afraid to do something so adventuresome, she answered, “At my age, what do I have to lose?”

Ms. Wilson’s life motto is “Be Kind” and her advice for a long life is to “Feel blessed and be grateful.”

She said it’s “important to just get up every day no matter how you feel.”

She is especially grateful for her family, including her two children, three grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

When she arrived at Greenwich Woods, Wilson was nervous because she didn’t know anyone. But her hallmate Xenia “Lee” Scardigino “was so kind to me. She invited me to lunch and from then on it was smooth sailing. I met a lot of residents and am friends with all the staff in Physical Therapy.”

Greenwich Woods Director of Recreation Cristina Esteves said, “Ruth is an inspiration to us all. She enjoys life every day. She loves playing word games, socializing with her peers, and using her iPad to keep in touch with family, friends, and even past students. She’s so good at technology, she teaches others how to use Facebook and the internet.”

Gisselle “Gigi” Masis Rehab Therapist at Greenwich Woods summed it up by saying, “People are just drawn to Ruth. She’s a beautiful soul.”

Greenwich Woods is the only independent nursing home in Greenwich rated 5 Stars by the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid (CMS).

For more information or to schedule a facility tour, please contact Mary Tobin, Administrator at 203-531-1335 or [email protected] or visit