Still Going Strong at 100: Meet Grandma Phyllis

Still Going Strong at 100

My new inspiration for aging? Bobbi Brown Cosmetics VP Kate Glowski’s Grandmother Phyllis who just turned 100. She is an avid card shark, a Yankees fan, and was an independent woman from the start. To inspire us all, Kate sat down with her dynamo grandmother to talk beauty at 100, why she still exercises, and her secret to aging well:

Kate: My grandmother Phyllis is the quintessential Italian Grandmother who always has something warm baking in the oven and a recipe to share. She has the ability to find the positive in every situation and encourages those around her to keep at it in life – work hard, enjoy family, and keep faith. Her secret to aging is a positive attitude and tons of moisturizer. Not to mention a drink every now and again (beer or vodka preferred).

She was born Phyllis Carnevale on March 14th 1916 in Amherst, New York. After Grandma Phyllis finished high school, she immediately began working as she strongly believed in the importance of being Independent. One of her favorite jobs was at the University of Buffalo in the student account office where she worked for 15 years and retired in 1975. When her children were young, she chose to work short daytime hours at various jobs like cleaning so she could be there when they got home from school.

She married my grandfather, Sam Marciano in 1940 and they were happily married for 56 years until he passed away in 1996. They have three children, seven grandchildren and five great grandchildren. She has a passion for playing cards every night and is known to be quite the card shark. At 100, she is still a huge sports fan and loves all of the Buffalo teams and will even watch some Yankees to be able to talk sports with her great grandchildren. She truly is my hero, I am blessed to have had her as a strong presence in my life for all of these years.

Our family threw a party for her 100th birthday with over 80 people. Everyone gathered and shared the many things they have loved about Phyllis over the years. There was a lot of talk about her cooking, her unconditional love for those around her, her faith, her desire to be independent and as one of her card playing friends summed it up “Today we celebrate 100 but starting tomorrow, Phyllis’ goal will be to make it to 101!”

Still Going Strong at 100

Kate: You look amazing at 100, what are your beauty tricks?

Grandma Phyllis: Ponds cold cream every day and night. I don’t go anywhere without putting on my eyebrows and lipstick. I really love lipstick, and it can be used for blush too.

What was it like growing up with five sisters, sharing a bathroom and makeup?

I was the oldest so I had to teach my sisters a little bit about makeup but we weren’t allowed to wear it until we were teenagers. We all had different styles.

At one point in your like, did you feel the most beautiful?

My wedding day.

How about the most confident?

When I was working. I loved to work, it gave me a sense of responsibility. I believe women should be independent. I encouraged my friends to learn how to drive so they wouldn’t have to depend on anyone. I drove until I was 90. I used to drive myself to the YMCA to swim twice a week.

Still Going Strong at 100


Was exercise important to you too?

Oh yes, when you get to be my age – you have to keep moving. I also enjoyed spending time in classes with other women. The camaraderie.

How about your diet?

Well, I grew up in an Italian household with roots from Sicily. There was always a lot of food. I have always and still do enjoy cooking for others. It brings people together.

Any advice for your daughter and granddaughters?

Stay positive in life, there will always be ups and downs but just keep holding on!

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3 thoughts on “Still Going Strong at 100: Meet Grandma Phyllis

  1. I am one of the lucky ones to be included in Phyllis’s birthday celebration. What keeps her young is family. She has interesting active children and grandchildren with whom she has kept a close relation. It is so much fun to be around her with the family, talking about current events as well as keeping up on their activities and lives. She stays interested in everything. That makes her an interesting person to be around. May her dauther, JoAnn, granddaughters, Katie & Marijo, great granddaughters, Issy & Maddie, be as beautiful and happy as Phyllis at 100+ years.


  2. I have had the pleasure of knowing Phyllis for close to 20 years when my handsome nephew married her beautiful and business savy grand-daughter Kate. Phyllis is a joy to be with as she has a wonderful attitude about life and is always upbeat and keeps up on all the latest. She is an inspiration to all who know her and hope we’re able to follow in her footsteps


  3. Happy 100th to Phyllis! So wonderful to read about her positive outlook and energy!
    She is a great mentor and motivator for us!
    Keep rocking the lipstick!
    Tanti auguri e buon compleanno!


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