Joan Landman

Joan Landman celebrated her 105th birthday at Sunrise Brighton Gardens in Dunwoody April 23. Part of the birthday party included presentation of a key to the city from Mayor Lynn Deutsch.

DUNWOODY, Ga. — A Dunwoody resident has weathered two global pandemics to celebrate a milestone birthday. 

Joan Landman, born April 23, 1916, celebrated her 105th birthday Friday, surrounded by her family at Sunrise Brighton Gardens. Mayor Lynn Deutsch attended the ceremony and awarded Landman a key to the city. 

“My grandmother used to say that it was a blessing if you got to see your children grown and happy,” Deutsch said. “You have seen your children, grandchildren and your great-grandchildren and I think you have been very blessed to get to see your family grow up and have them all here.”

Born in Queens, N.Y., Landman moved to Florida in 1983 and to Dunwoody in 2018. Her parents immigrated to the United States from Latvia and Russia, passing through Ellis Island around 1903. 

Her husband Lee passed away in 2004 after 62 years of marriage. She met him at her parent’s candy store in New York City, falling in love at first sight. 

She has two sons, Wayne, who lives in Sandy Springs, and Bruce, who lives in Evans, Ga. Her family tree includes four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. 

She continued driving her Mercury Sable until age 99 and nine months, and she lived on her own until 102.

At 98, she would pick up her friends and drive them for a weekly meal at Golden Corral. Determined to retain independence, she improvised a plan to overcome a weakened wrist that could no longer turn the ignition key all the way. 

Part of the plan required her neighbor to crank the vehicle. She would then drive to Publix, turn off the ignition and shop. After shopping, she would enlist the store bagger to crank the ignition, then back home she drove.

When Landman’s brother left to serve in World War II, he gave her his 1936 Buick convertible. As one of the early female drivers in New York City at the time, men would pull their ear for good luck.

She never smoked and drank only rarely. She spent most of her parenting years as a stay-at-home mother. That time included rescuing and adopting dogs and cats.

Smiling to the crowd assembled for the celebration Friday, Landman offered these words of wisdom at her celebration: “Enough is enough.”

Jeffrey reports on Dunwoody and the State Capital for Appen Media. He also hosts The Georgia Politics Podcast

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