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Naomi Judd celebrates aging at sold-out event

Rochester, N.Y. - It wasnt a concert, but country singer Naomi Judd headlined a sold-out event at Lifespans Celebration of Aging luncheon Tuesday.

Judd proudly told the audience of more than 1,400 people that she is 68 years old and wouldnt change it for anything because she said now she has perspective and knows she is a survivor.

Survive she did. Judd said her life wasnt always glamorous. She said she was the victim of date rape and found herself alone and pregnant at the age of 17.

Here I am pregnant, betrayed, my little brother is dying and my parents are getting divorced, Judd told 13WHAM News in a sit-down interview.

She said it was 1964 and everything she knew and believed in had exploded into chaos. She said it was one of many life lessons.

When asked how she survived, she said these times made her stronger and she kept going because of her two children. Wynona is a country singer and a member of The Judds singing group with her mother. Ashley is an actress in Hollywood.

Judd told the crowd to be proud of their age and to live gratefully by appreciating things and finding a reason to be happy. She also said it helps to have the right amount of self-esteem and to appreciate everything you are given.

She has never lost that sense of reality, which is why she said she remains grounded despite achieving fame as a country singer. She said that fame didnt come easily. She and her daughters lived in a cramped motel room in Nashville and ate bologna on crackers.

It wasnt until she met a famous music producer while working as a nurse in a small hospital that she was discovered.

He played a cassette of the Judds music and she said he almost drove off the road because he was so blown away by their talent.

Judd credited Rochester-born musician Don Potter for writing songs and music for the band and helping them sell records and make the top 10 on the radio.

She said she never dreamed of being a singer and never sang in church or school, but when Judd realized daughter Wynona had talent, she decided to be her backup singer to support her daughter.

She said she is proud of both daughters, but not because they are successful and famous. She said her daughters are kind, caring and compassionate people. That makes her proud.

Lifespan honored five individuals for their achievements to celebrate aging. They included Rosa Wims, 91, who fed the hungry for years at Thanksgiving time and worked at Foodlink up until last year.

Another honoree was Chet Fery of Brockport. He calls himself the bread man. Chet bakes bread and gives it away to help people. He has donated thousands of loaves of bread in the last 10 years.

Frank Bassett was honored with the Carter Catlett Williams Award for Excellence in Aging or Long-Term Care Services. Bassett is Administrator of the Livingston County Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.

Nancy Rice and Reva Sipser were also honored for their volunteer work to serve others.

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Washington Times