A New Castle native turned 104 years old this month, and what is even more impressive — she still plays the piano.

“She played on her birthday here,” said Jodi Beckwith, Lois Beckwith’s daughter-in-law.

Lois Beckwith was born on Jan. 1, 1916, in New Castle to Fredrick and Edna Smith.

Bill Beckwith, one of Lois’s sons, said she has been playing piano she was 10 years old and can still play by ear — when she’s feeling up to it.

“I’ve been on many adventures,” said Lois, who lives in Carriage Manor in Shenango Township.

Bill Beckwith said he and his two brothers brothers grew up in his mother’s childhood home on Hillcrest Avenue, which was built by his grandfather.

“She actually lived there from the time she was 1 until she was 90,” Bill said. “Well, actually 91 was when she first couldn’t take care of the house anymore.”

Lois was a third-grade teacher for the Mohawk and New Castle area school districts and worked at Arthur McGill, John F. Kennedy and Croton schools. She is also a member of the PEO Sisterhood and belongs to Clen-Moore Presbyterian Church, where she taught Sunday school and sang in the choir.

Lois remembers singing her first solo at 4 years old.

Bill recalled his mother’s dedication to attending church services when he was young. The brothers, as Bill explained, would hide their shoes to avoid going, but said on one occasion his mother made him attend in his socks.

Lois is a two-time cancer survivor, according to her son David.

Lois was married to Charles Beckwith, who died in 1987. She has three sons, eight grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.



Maria Basileo is a news reporter. She covers Laurel and Shenango school boards and municipal government.

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