Ask active members of the “Greatest Generation”— those born in the 1920s and in their 90s today — about aging, and they’ll tell you they’ve been too busy living to worry about it.
They’re traveling more, indulging in creative activities, spending time with family members and friends – and simply doing whatever makes them happy. And happy they are.
We had a chance to catch up with Marie and Egon J. Salmon, who are 91 and 96 years old, respectively.
Marie, whose birthday was Sept. 12, is a native of Port Richmond. Egon’s was June 4. Her dad was owner of a well known furniture store, Schiff’s Furniture.
She attended PS 20 and Port Richmond High School and married Egon 69 years ago. Egon’s a Holocaust survivor, who granted an in-depth interview to Shira Stoll, a former Advance multimedia specialist, and was the subject of a feature story and video.
In time the couple purchased a home on Ocean Terrace.
Egon garnered the title of the “oldest living past president of the Staten Island Board of Realtors.”
The illustrious senior was a real estate commissioner of the City of New York during the administrations of Mayor Ed Koch and Mayor David Dinkins. And according to his son, Jon, Egon was on the last refugee ship, The St. Louis, to leave Europe before WWII broke out.
In fact, the Wagner College Holocaust Center will stage the fifth annual commemoration of Kristallnacht and the St. Louis, on Monday, Nov. 9, at 7 p.m. via Zoom. The commemoration will be led by guest speaker Julian E. Zelizer, professor of History and Public Affairs at Princeton University and CNN Analyst. The talk will examine the ways in which fighting anti-Semitism and the quest for racial justice intersect.
Egon continues to be a prominent figure on Staten Island. He started Salmon Real Estate in 1956, making it the oldest independent real-estate firm in the borough. His two sons, Jon and Henry, continued his legacy, and Jon is now the president of the firm.
They are grandparents to six and great-grandparents of four.
Although everyone’s been quarantining since March, this year’s birthday celebration saw Marie celebrating with family members over a private dinner in an outdoor garden in an independent living community in Maplewood, N.J., followed the next day with a visit to children Henry and Linda’s New Jersey home.
“To live a long life you have to be happy,” Marie told us. “You have to be in love and you have to have wonderful children,” she said. “And I truly believe in exercise. I really love to walk and exercise. And a big word is respect — to have respect in every way.”
As Staten Island residents the Salmons were always well-respected and extremely active in a number of charities.
“I was active with the Snug Harbor celebrity scene when we invited Mario Buatta and the ballet dancer Edward Villella, among others,” Marie said. “Those were some of the people that I got in contact with to come and speak at Snug Harbor. And I also was active with the JCC and the Staten Island Council on the Arts, when I ran an auction for them.”