Frank Rago turns 105 Thursday, and while his hearing isn’t what it used to be, he is still pretty independent, said daughter Doris Ray Rago, with whom he lives in the Fishing Creek section of Lower Township.

“He likes to putter around the lawn and cut the hedge,” she said.

Rago was a high-end ladies’ shoe designer for Laird Schober in Philadelphia for about 40 years, he said. He made special orders for Hollywood stars from the 1930s to the 1950s, including Carmen Miranda, Betty Grable and Loretta Young.

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“I made a good living at it,” he said.

His job was part art and part engineering, Doris Ray Rago said.

“My father would take the designs, extrapolate and get the guys to set machines to match the design,” she said.

Rago left designing and moved to the shore about 40 years ago, he said. But, he kept working another decade, managing a store in Cape May.

“We always had a house at the shore,” his daughter said. “My mom’s relatives are from Cape May and go back to the Victorian Age there.”

Rago has been a widower since 2006, when his wife, the former Laura Mae Sweeney, died at age 98.

His other daughter, Irene Link, also lives in Lower Township. Family and friends threw a party for him Friday at the Avalon Golf Club in Cape May Court House.

Local pets in calendars

Five animal companions in South Jersey are in 2013 Workman Publishing Calendars. Zuke, who lives in Galloway Township with Ana Cilursu and Craig Saxton, is in 365 Dogs on Nov. 4. Jethro, a Longport resident who lives with Samantha and Jeff Orleans, is featured Sept. 24.

Pepper, who lives with Mary Lou Best in Northfield, is featured in Bad Cat on May 6. Belle, who lives in Mays Landing with Joann Cavallo, is in Bad Dog on Aug. 16. Fletcher, who lives with Carolyn La Mountain in Margate, is featured in 365 Kittens on Nov. 20.

Sea Isle drive a success

Sea Isle City residents Pattiann Ponichtera, Vickie Pittaluga, Marie Tighe and Patsy D’Intino used their wrapping and coordinating skills to make Sea Isle’s 20th annual Mayor’s Toy and Food Drive a huge success.

Four pickup trucks filled with goodies stopped at the homes of 22 families Dec. 21, delivering food, toys and gift cards. The VFW provided turkey and stuffing to each family, a city official said.

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