100-Year-Old Jamestown Resident Shows Value Of Reading

Evelyn Sundholm, a resident of Edgewood Communities in Jamestown, will be turning 100 years old Wednesday. Sundholm is an avid reader and frequent patron of the Falconer Public Library. In less than four years, she has read over 700 books. P-J photo by A.J. Rao

In less than four years, Evelyn Sundholm has read over 700 books — a drop in the ocean really, considering her passion for reading stretches across a century.

On Wednesday, Sundholm, a resident of Edgewood Communities, a senior living community located at 737 Falconer St. in Jamestown, will turn 100 years old.

In spite of her age, Sundholm is hardly someone “put out to pasture,” remaining defiantly sharp, lucid and lively — a benefit, she believes, of frequent social interaction and, of course, reading.

“Reading is the most relaxing thing I do,” she said. “More importantly, I learn something. If I don’t learn something every day, my day is wasted.”

A Jamestown native and 1936 graduate of Jamestown High School, Sundholm’s passion for books started early, no doubt kick-started by a family full of voracious readers.

“We always had books around because we had no other entertainment,” Sundholm said. “We didn’t have a television, so we would look at all kinds of magazines and especially catalogs, because that was the only way to see things you could order like clothes and furniture.”

Sundholm was also a frequent visitor of the library — a routine that has yet to stop.

After moving into Edgewood Communities in 1986 and organizing social events as part of the nursing home’s “Birthday Club” for 13 years, Sundholm began to spend more time at the Falconer Public Library.

“I picked out a book and one thing led to another … and now it’s nothing for me to take 10 books home,” she said. “I support the library and I’ve become very good friends with Sue (Seamans, Falconer Public Library director).”

Sundholm, who remains a strong advocate for reading, said she regularly shares her books with friends, family members and even people who just need new books to read. Seeing children reading at the Falconer Public Library, she said, is particularly inspiring.

“Parents don’t read to their children anymore — they just watch television all the time,” she said. “It’s important they acquire a love for reading and it’s important they learn something every day.”

Indeed, Sundholm has enjoyed both fiction and nonfiction over the years, from mysteries to historical books on the American presidents and the settling of the country.

Her favorite book is a 2013 historical novel entitled “Mrs. Lincoln’s Dressmaker,” by Jennifer Chiaverini. The book, she said, was able to turn something historical into a compelling, readable story.

Sundholm is also a frequent reader of periodicals, delving into Time magazines and even subscribing to The Post-Journal for 78 years.