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Sagewood at Daybreak resident celebrates 102 years of adventure

Oct 05, 2017 02:03PM ● Published by Jana Klopsch

Claudio Dos Santos celebrates his 102nd birthday at Sagewood at Daybreak. (Keyra Kristoffersen/City Journals)

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Sagewood at Daybreak is a premier senior living community where everyone has a chance to participate in a host of activities from shopping trips to crafts, exercise and eating amazing food made by their team of chefs. Another activity that they like to participate in is the monthly birthday party.

“After physical wellness, we really have to keep residents entertained and social and happy, and birthday parties are a great way to do that and celebrate their life,” said Jonathan Sherman Tate, Sagewood wellness director.

Residents are treated to an in-house masseuse and balloon artist along with decorations and cake. 

“Rob, our balloon guy, was a Scout in a Scout Troop that one of our residents was a leader of,” Tate said. “He just really loves doing it. We decorate and have some fun times.” 

Eris Kirby has been a resident of Sagewood’s for the last eight months after spending 50 years in the same house in Holladay. She said she and her husband love it because it has everything they need.

“It’s entertaining, it’s educational, it’s social, and it helps us to develop and grow with their programs,” said Kirby, who teaches ceramics and is happy there are so many artistic opportunities. 

Kirby has also been excited by the birthday celebrations that happen every month and the opportunity they present to get to know their neighbors better.

“I know all of these people with birthdays, and I love every one of them,” Kirby said. “They’re wonderful people. They do this once a month, and it’s just such a builder-upper of people, we get to know them and appreciate them.”

One of those people, in particular, is Claudio Dos Santos, who celebrated his 102nd birthday on Aug. 23. Dos Santos was born in 1915 in Brazil and moved to the United States in 1955 as an industrial engineer. 

“Right now, I’m more American than Brazilian,” said Dos Santos. “It was mostly church influence that brought me to the U.S., and adventure. We can’t live without being in adventure.”

Dos Santos is the 12th of 14 children and the only one still alive. His last job in the U.S. was at Beehive Machinery where he holds the patent as the inventor of a chicken deboner that has been used all over the world. He has travelled to Japan, Australia, New Zealand and several Communist countries, including Russia and the now absorbed Yugoslavia, to instruct in the use of his deboning machine.

“We had about 21 people from all over Russia come to the plant to learn how to use the equipment,” said Dos Santos. “People are good people all over the world. The world is beautiful all over it because beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.”

Dos Santos said of all the places he had travelled, Switzerland was his favorite, especially Zurich.

“Zurich is a beautiful city,” he said.. “We went to the Alps. I took my wife, and we went to the side of the Matterhorn. Switzerland is clean. The roads are clean but very narrow, and people are milking cows right along the road.”

After 70 years in engineering, Dos Santos retired in 1985 to West Jordan, where he learned to play golf, make movies, take pictures and continue his passion for music. Dos Santos performed as First Tenor in the Mormon Tabernacle Choir from 1965 to 1979, the first Brazilian and South American choir member. “One of his daughters continued that tradition. He has two daughters and a son, lovingly referred to as the baby at 67 years old along with 10 grandchildren and 10 great-grandchildren. 

Dos Santos moved to Sagewood in 2016, and the other residents and staff have grown fond of him. 

“He’s very special,” said Kirby, “He eats European style, which is very unusual for here.”

Tate said he’s glad to see that Dos Santos doesn’t show any signs of stopping and is glad to see how motivated he is to exercise and work out by himself in the center’s gym. 

“We’ve dabbled in chess discussions, and he loves music,” Tate said. “I really love to hear about his engineering products that he has.” 

Dos Santos feels like he’s done a lot in 102 years and feels privileged to be living this long. When describing his life, he said, “I’m happy.”

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