By Katy Savage
Tuesday, Feb. 4, 2020 was declared Louise Hansson Day in Killington.
Hansson, who turned 90 Feb. 4, is one of the town’s oldest residents and one of the original members of Killington Active Seniors.
All 25 members of Killington Active Seniors showered Hansson with cards during the group’s weekly lunch at the Lookout Tavern. Some town employees and elected officials, including Killington Select Board member Chuck Claffey, Town Manager Chet Hagenbarth, Town Clerk Lucrecia Wonsor and Sherburne Memorial Library Director Jane Ramos, also attended.
“I didn’t expect 25 people,” Hansson said.
Hansson was presented with a certificate, signed by the Select Board, proclaiming it was her day. She was also given flowers and a tiara by the Killington Active Seniors group.
“We just felt if you get to be 90 years old, wherever you are and whatever group you’re part of, it should be a celebration,” said Gerrie Russell, who leads the Active Seniors group.
Hansson has lived on the Killington Access Road, near Casey’s Caboose, since 1961. She and her husband started coming to Killington from New Jersey shortly after Killington Resort was founded in 1958. Hansson was a hospice volunteer in the Killington area while her husband worked in construction. Hansson’s husband built their house before Killington Road was paved and the road was widened.
“I’m still in it so he must have done a good job,” Hansson said.
Hansson was one of the first members of Killington Active Seniors, which she remembers started about 25 years ago. She said a group of about five people who wanted to stay active went out for lunches and took ice skating trips together, among other activities.
“We just stayed together,” she said.
Hansson still participates in many of the group’s events.
“I never sit still, neither did [my husband],” Hansson said.
The Killington Active Seniors group supports each other by sharing health tips, doing yoga, taking day trips and building comraderie. They also meet weekly at the Lookout Tavern, where owner Joy Black has made them lunch for 10 years with soup or salad, a hot meal and homemade dessert.
“I mix it up,” said Black. “For me it’s just a nice way to give back.”
“I really love all of them,” Black said. “You watch them go and it’s sad. They’re great people. They have a lot of history here and they share it with me.”
Russell moved to Vermont in 2011, reluctantly, at first, she said, because of the cold weather.
“Aging in place in Killington is rather difficult,” Russell said. “You have to drive. This is why the Killington Active Seniors group has grown in scope in the last couple years. We’re all aware that we need each other.”
Despite the challenges, “Vermont sort of gets in your heart,” Russell said.