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Joyce Endee

Boston Post Cane presented to Whitefield's oldest resident

Anna Bisson was presented with the Boston Post Cane on her 103rd birthday on Sept. 1 in a special ceremony at the Morrison. From left are Doug Shearer, President of the Board of Trustees, Judy Ramsdell, Whitefield's Administrative Assistant to the Selectmen, Anna Bisson, Anna's son Edward Bisson, Edward's wife Carol Bisson, and Shannon Lynch, Executive Director of The Morrison Communities. (Courtesy Photo) (click for larger version)
September 16, 2021
WHITEFIELD — Anna Bisson, a resident at the Morrison Skilled Nursing Facility, was feted on Sept. 1 and presented with the Boston Post Cane, given to the town's oldest resident. Family, staff and guests also helped Anna celebrate her 103rd birthday with a cake and many beautiful flowers.

Born in Jefferson on Sept. 1, 1918, likely at home, Bisson has spent most of her life in Whitefield. As a youngster and young woman, she resided in the Red Acres area of town, off Brown Street, with her parents, Jack and Etta Jordan, and her five siblings, Leo, Ed, Margaret, Norman and Helen. Both Leo and Helen are still alive, and the other siblings lived well into old age.

"There is lots of longevity in that family," says Anna's son, Ed Bisson.

Ed recalls his mother's long life with great fondness and says that anyone who knew her would say she is well-known for three things: the flowers she grew, her peanut butter fudge, and her ability to get up and go all day.

That get up and go attitude was likely formed early in Anna's life. Without access to a car or taxi service, Anna and her sister walked 17 miles both ways, every day from Red Acres to their jobs at the Gilman Paper Company in Gilman, Vermont. When they wanted to go other places, such as Lancaster, for shopping or to visit friends they walked. "That may contribute to why she has lived so long," says Ed.

When Anna married Etienne Bisson, she brought a daughter, Elizabeth (Betty), and he brought five sons to the newly formed family. After they married, they had Ed in 1944 and he likes to joke that he is the only one that was "theirs."

"Her biggest love was her home at 63 Brown Street in Whitefield, which she took care of along with her flower gardens, which were much admired by passersby," he remembers. "In her 70s, she was still very spry. After dad died, she lived there by herself. She bought a tractor to mow the lawn and my wife and I once caught her doing wheelies! And once, my sister Betty, who lived in Littleton, called her for help as her cellar was taking on water. Mom went over, mixed up concrete and patched the cellar good as new."

Anna has several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, but Ed isn't sure of the precise number, as his brothers didn't have much contact with their family once they left home.

Anna has had a long association with the Morrison. In her late 70s, she worked at Sartwell Assisted Living after it opened in 1994, says Liz Hazard, Director of Sartwell Assisted Living. She has shared old photos of the nurse's aide team in their all-white uniforms with the staff and she also kept her journal with notes explaining abbreviations, etc. from her training.

In her later years, Anna was a resident at Sartwell and lived there until she moved to the Morrison Skilled Nursing Facility at age 100. In 2014, at age 95, she was featured in a Morrison rehabilitation ad where she declared, "I feel like I've been helped a lot, but I'm glad to return home (to Sartwell) where the sunshine comes through my window and be with all my old friends."

"We are so pleased that our staff was able to help Anna celebrate both her 103rd birthday and to offer congratulations on her on being the recipient of the Boston Post Cane," says Shannon Lynch, Executive Director of The Morrison Communities. "Anna is so well known and well liked by all of the staff and it means so much to us that we could be part of both celebrations."

"Anna was always walking here or there and was always working," Ed sums up, noting that his mom's longevity was also due to "a beer or two a day and that garden of hers."

The Morrison Communities is a nonprofit 501 (c)(3) charitable community that has been providing quality healthcare to residents of New Hampshire's North Country since 1903. Located on two campuses in Whitefield, the original Morrison building includes Morrison Skilled Nursing, Sartwell Place Assisted Living, and both Inpatient and Outpatient Rehabilitation. The Summit by Morrison continuum of care campus provides Independent Living, Assisted Living and Memory Care options. For more information, go to www.themorrisoncommunities.org

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