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Paley Family Marks 100 Years in U.S.

On Tuesday, September 25, something very unusual happened. On that day, three dozen members of the Paley family arrived in Washington, D.C. for their annual family reunion, and this year, they marked the 100th anniversary of family patriarch Morris Paley’s arrival at Ellis Island from Russia.

Louisvillian Sylvia Paley Gilbert, 88, now the senior matriarch of the clan was among them. “We’ve been getting together since 1946,” Gilbert said, and everyone in the family gets along very well.

The close-knit family grew up in New York City, and Gilbert lived most of her life there. She and her husband, Harry, were married 53 years before his death 10 years ago. The family remembers him, she said proudly, and his name is included on the memorial plaque in Washington.

Living alone in New York became increasingly difficult and expensive, so Gilbert’s children helped her move to Louisville, where she could be near her son and daughter-in-law, Lance and Amy Gilbert, and their family.

Lance and Amy found an apartment for half the rent she was paying in New York. The new place also has shopping close at hand so Gilbert can maintain her independence.

Her other son and his wife, Mark and Judy Gilbert, traveled from Dallas to New York to pack her belongings and help her move.

Gilbert claims coming to Louisville has added years to her life. Lance introduced her to the Senior Adult programs at the Jewish Community Center, and she observed, “I’ve met wonderful friends here, and I feel closer to them than I did to the people in New York. The people here are the nicest and most considerate people.”

The extended family will continue their 65-year tradition of annual gatherings, though the organizing has now passed to the next generation. In between, they maintain a Facebook page for sharing news. And for those who couldn’t make the trip this year, they even broadcast the reunion using streaming video over the web.

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