Centenarian remembers parasailing at 99

Apr 11 2012 - 7:03pm

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(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) 
Tim Healy pushes his mother Leah Healy in a wheelchair at Legacy House assisted living facility in South Ogden. Leah Healy is celebrating her 100th birthday by going on a cruise with her children and other family members.
(Courtesy photo)
Workers help Leah Healy get ready for her parasailing adventure last year.
(MATTHEW ARDEN HATFIELD/Standard-Examiner) 
Tim Healy pushes his mother Leah Healy in a wheelchair at Legacy House assisted living facility in South Ogden. Leah Healy is celebrating her 100th birthday by going on a cruise with her children and other family members.
(Courtesy photo)
Workers help Leah Healy get ready for her parasailing adventure last year.

SOUTH OGDEN -- Leah Fotheringham Healy is celebrating her 100th birthday in style.

She is on a cruise ship to the Mexican Rivera.

It's a similar trip to one she took a year ago for her 99th birthday.

And while at port on that cruise, she did something unexpected. She went parasailing.

"They were all saying 'Go Leah,'" she said of a beach full of people who were rooting for her as she sailed into the air from her wheelchair.

The crowd of supporters grew as she was in the air and as she was let back down into the chair again.

"I'm glad I did it last year because I don't think I'll do it again," said the centenarian, who admitted to being a year wiser.

Healy said she decided to parasail at the encouragement of her son, the late Michael Healy, who was a well-known gynecologist in South Ogden.

Michael Healy died several weeks ago of an apparent heart attack.

The Healy family, out of a fear of their mother not making it to 100, opted to take her on the cruise last year.

"We did it last year because we weren't sure if mother would make it for this year," said Timothy Healy, her son from North Ogden.

That's also why Healy said she was so brave as to allow someone to send her flying up into the air.

"At this age, what do you have to lose?" she said.

Healy said she recalls exactly the conversation she had with the people in charge of the parasailing.

"They said 'You don't weigh very much. Are you sure you want to do that?' I said 'If you keep me up and don't land me in California or Mexico, I'll do it."

And wanting to keep her safe, Healy said the parasailing company took their time with her.

"They kept me up longer than most," she said. "They were waiting for the wind to be just right."

Healy left for the cruise during the first week of April with 12 family members, including her four remaining children and their spouses.

Before she left, she said she was looking forward to the trip.

"Good dinner, being together with family, those are the things I enjoy the most," she said.

Timothy Healy said the family is happy to have had their mother for so long.

"It's pretty amazing," he said. "We always told her she would live to be 100. She had a brother that lived to be 94 and a sister that lived to be 95. She's got some good genes there."

The son said eating well has been part of her secret.

"She enjoys greeting people and making them feel good," he said.

"And having a smile on my face," Healy said, finishing her son's sentence.

"It's better to smile and laugh than to cry," she said. "Smile at people whether you feel like smiling or not.

Healy is a resident of the Legacy House assisted living facility at 5526 South Adams Ave.

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