At 101, Setauket woman is a world traveler

At 101, Setauket woman is a world traveler

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Betty Bezas celebrated her birthday on Christmas

Betty Bezas photo by Mallika Mitra

By Mallika Mitra

In her 101 years of life, Betty Bezas has seen a lot of the world. Bezas, who just celebrated her birthday on Christmas Day, was born on Dec. 25, 1912, in Greece, where she lived until she was 15 years old.

After her father died in a fire when she was only 1 month old, Bezas lived with her mother, grandmother and uncle.

On Oct. 20, 1929, she had an arranged marriage to Zachary Bezas in Salonika, a city in northern Greece. After honeymooning in Paris, the couple moved to the United States, where Bezas knew no one but her husband’s family.

On Oct. 28, 1930, Bezas gave birth to her first of three daughters. Her daughters Catherine Krusos, Irene Usher and Loretta Janelis currently live in Huntington, Setauket and South Carolina, respectively.

With five grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and twin great-great-grandchildren expected any day now, Bezas is excited to have five generations in the family.

When she first came to the United States, Bezas lived in Brooklyn where her husband worked in a bank until he lost his job during the Great Depression. The couple then moved to Dix Hills, where Bezas worked as an assistant district manager in food services at the Half Hollow Hills school district for 25 years, and her husband ran a chicken farm. His business of selling eggs and chickens lasted until the beginning of World War II, when he went to work at Republic Aviation in Farmingdale, an aircraft manufacturing company that is now Republic Airport.

When her husband died of leukemia, Bezas moved to North Babylon and now lives at Sunrise Senior Living in East Setauket.

Bezas loves to travel and has done quite a bit of it, including trips to Italy, France, Spain and Canada.

“You see all different cultures. You learn a lot,” Bezas said. “People who live in every country have something to offer.”

In her spare time, Bezas likes to crochet and knit. For much of her life she has made hats and blankets for premature babies, which she donates to hospitals, and blankets for senior citizens.

Bezas celebrated her 101st birthday with fellow Sunrise residents and friends from the Greek Orthodox Church of the Assumption in Port Jefferson, where she is a member. She has also been a member of Saint Paraskevi Greek Orthodox Shrine Church in Greenlawn for more than 50 years.

Of the Sunrise staff members who organized her birthday party with decorations, good food and many friends — “They went out of their way,” Bezas said.