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Farmington’s oldest resident recognized with Boston Post Cane

Nada Keeling is recognized with the Boston Post Cane. Left to right is Bob Vallette, Myrna Vallette, Nada Keeling and Town Manager Richard Davis.

FARMINGTON - The town's oldest living resident was recognized Wednesday, with the town manager calling it an "honor" to present her with the Boston Post Cane.

Town Manager Richard Davis presented Nada Keeling - pronounced Nay-da, not Nah-da - with the cane at the municipal building, saying the 100-year-old great-great-grandmother was "worthy of great recognition."

Keeling joked that the cane, a replica of the original walking stick given to the town by the now-defunct Boston Post, "would come in handy."

"I didn't ever expect anything like this," Keeling said, "but I certainly enjoy it."

Keeling moved to Farmington in 2016 to live with her surviving daughter, Myrna Vallette, and her son-in-law, Bob Vallette. Her extended family includes five grandchildren, five great-grandchildren and eight great-great-grandchildren.

Born in December 1918, Keeling grew up in Arizona and later traveling the country with her husband in a motor home. In addition to fishing and hunting deer, Keeling recalled getting a license to shoot a buffalo. Myrna Keeling said that she still had the head.

Hundreds of canes were given to towns across New England in August 1909 by The Boston Post as a promotion; the now-famous walking stick-styled canes outlived the newspaper, which shut down in 1957. Originally awarded to the oldest resident in each town, the surviving canes - or in some cases, replicas - continue to serve that purpose.

The original canes were manufactured in New York by J.F. Fradley and Co. out of ebony wood, with 14-carat gold heads engraved with instructions that they be transmitted to the town's oldest male resident. By 1930, women were also receiving the canes.

Farmington's original cane was retired in 2002, after town officials became concerned that steady use of the cane was wearing the artifact down. It is now on display in the town office. The replica that has been presented to residents over the past 16-plus years was built by an orthopedic products company and modified to include a replica head and engraving.

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2 Responses »

  1. Congratulations & Best Wishes to Nada, a very sweet lady that adds sunshine to Old South Church!

  2. Wonderful news, Nada! Best wishes to you! You are definitely the youngest centenarian of my acquaintance!

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