UNITY — The gold-topped Boston Post cane signifying a town’s oldest citizen was presented to Alice Gordon Sunday, as family and friends celebrated her 100th birthday.

Faith Community Church on Depot Street was decorated with balloons and flowers, along with a large spread of snacks that included a strawberry cake, a chocolate cake and strawberry custard ice cream from John’s in Liberty.

Flowers for Alice Gordon adorn the tables at the Faith Community Church in Unity Nov. 21. Two photos show Alice playing the piano, something she is well known for. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

After some technical difficulties with a projector, Pastor Paul Keller said when Alice was born there was no television or Wi-Fi, so in honor of her birthday, “we’re not going to have any technology.”

Several friends spoke about Alice’s love of music. She belonged to Unity Community Church and Quaker Hill Church for over 50 years and played the piano at both. She also belonged to the Rebekahs, the women’s auxiliary of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows, where she was a member for over 50 years and served in several roles, including playing the piano. 

Friends and family celebrate Alice Gordon’s 100th birthday Nov. 21 at Faith Community Church. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Alice was born in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, Nov. 21, 1921. Her father, Frank Haskell, built and ran Kittery Trading Post when it consisted of a gas station, garage and store. According to Alice’s youngest son, David, who was at the celebration, back then the store was a literal trading post where goods were bartered.

While in school, Alice belonged to a rifle club and Campfire Girls as well as playing basketball for four years in Kittery and Unity. Her family moved to Unity in 1938 and Alice graduated from Unity High School the following year.

She was married to Ralph Gordon for 47 years and raised six children. Alice has 11 grandchildren, 22 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.

A friend at the celebration said Alice had told her the last time she was in the brick building that now houses Faith Community Church, it was a dentist’s office and she had all her teeth out. “So she was reclining in a different chair,” the friend said.

Another friend recalled stopping in for a visit with Alice. “We enjoyed coming to your house and seeing you play honky-tonk piano.”

Keller said Alice was behind the piano at Quaker Hill Church, and “it’s a privilege to be your pastor… It’s good to have you here.”

Alice Gordon holds her certificate after receiving the Boston Post cane on her 100th birthday at Faith Community Church Nov. 21. Photo by Fran Gonzalez

Alice said it was good to be back with the congregation at Faith Community Church. When asked her secret to longevity, she said she was not sure. “I just live from day to day,” she said. “It’s good to be here and see all of my church family again.”

Her son David said his five siblings are Pauline, who is 69; Nancy, 71; Janice, 75; Emily, 80; and Herb, who is 82. He said he lives about two miles from the church, in “the same place where a couple of us were born.”

In 1938, Alice’s parents — his grandparents — bought a farm next to where he, Pauline and Nancy live with their mother. “My grandfather built the house we currently live in,” he said. “Mom and Dad lived in separate quarters from her parents.” 

“My grandfather started it (Kittery Trading Post) as a gas station, garage and store, at different times over the years,” David said.

David said his mother and father both worked at Gordon’s Ready Peeled Potatoes, a processing plant located where East Coast CBD now operates on Depot Street, a few doors down from the church. She worked peeling potatoes, he said, and added that the operation provided potatoes for Snow’s Chowder.

“The doctors try and tell you the correct way to eat and drink,” he said, “but Mom didn’t have too much time to think about that. She was too busy raising six kids.”