Haitian Centenarians Celebrate 82 Years Of Marriage, Give God Credit for Lengthy and Healthy Life

Marie Yoland Eveillard speaks with her father Duranord Veillard, who will celebrate his 108th birthday on Saturday, and mother Jeanne Veillard, in Spring Valley. Jeanne turns 105 in May. The couple got married in Haiti in 1932. (Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)
Marie Yoland Eveillard speaks with her father Duranord Veillard, who will celebrate his 108th birthday on Saturday, and mother Jeanne Veillard, in Spring Valley. Jeanne turns 105 in May. The couple got married in Haiti in 1932.
(Photo: Tania Savayan/The Journal News)

A husband and wife thought to be Rockland County’s oldest married couple will celebrate their birthdays this weekend — with a combined age of 212.

Duranord Veillard will turn 108 on Saturday while his wife of 82 years, Jeanne, turns 105 in May.

The couple plan to celebrate a milestone few others will see with family, friends and well-wishers at their home, where they live with a daughter, Marie Eveillard.

The son of a fisherman, Duranord Veillard was born Feb. 28, 1907, in St. Louis du Sud and grew up in Les Cayes in southern Haiti.

He studied law and lived in Port-au-Prince. The couple tied the knot in November 1932 — the same month Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected president in a landslide victory over Herbert Hoover and Groucho Marx performed on radio for the first time.

Duranord and Jeanne Veillard raised five children. They moved to the United States in 1968 after Duranord lost his job as a judge and was awarded a visa to visit the U.S. He settled in Spring Valley. One by one, family members joined him.

Veillard got a job as a lab technician at the Good Samaritan Hospital and worked there for about 10 years and retired for a second time.

On Thursday, wearing a crisp white guayabera, brown slacks and brown leather shoes, Duranord Veillard basked in the attention of his family.

Nearly blind and hard of hearing, and swallowed up by his easy chair, Veillard spoke loudly and at length in French Creole — cracking jokes, asking for his American flag and serenading the room with a song he picked up in Cuba in the 1920s.

Later, he offered a reporter a piece of birthday cake: frosted and crowned with the number 108.

“He remembers everything,” said his son, Vely Veillard, 62. “Look at him! He don’t want to use a cane. He’s a superstar.”

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SOURCE: USA Today / The (Westchester County, N.Y.) Journal News – Alex Taylor