to Your 3rd Century!
THE ARIZONA REPUBLIC
SATURDAY, JANUARY 1, 2000
Local centenarians welcome millennium
Health, love of life keeping
these folks going into 2000
By Janie Magruder
The Arizona Republic
It was her 105th New Year's Eve, and Merle Cornoyer McEatbron
was ready with a toast.
"Here's to you and here's to me, and may we never disagree,"
the smiling centenarian said, raising a glass of sparking cider.
"But if we do, here's to me."
Born July 31, 1895, the 104-year-old McEathron was the eldest
of 10 centenarians who gathered Friday afternoon to usher out
their second century of life and welcome in a third.
Instead of blowing horns at midnight, the nine women and one
man, surrounded by family and friends, gazed at a picture-perfect
Arizona sunset, the last of 1999.
Living beyond 100 is something to be revered, said Lynn Peters
Adler, the party's hostess and head of the National Centenarian
"It's my hope for the new year that people will get to know
our older citizens and benefit from their memories, their perspective
and their love of life," Adler said.
Centenarian party goers:
(front, from left) Florence Thiel, Lenore Schaeffer, Ruth Jacobson,
Merle Cornoyer McEathron, George Freestone, Emma Urie; (back,
from left) Myrna Webb, Minnie O'Donnell, Marguerite Hitchens;
hostess Lynn Adler is in the back row.
(Photo courtesy of Lynn Peters Adler)
And what memories they are. George Freestone of Tempe recalls
Orville and Wilbur Wright's first airplane flight in 1903 near
Kitty Hawk, N.C. Freestone, now 101, became a pilot himself.
Florence Thiel, who never married but devoted her life to
teaching other people's children, remembered the Titanic sinking
in 1912. She's also 101.
Lenore Schaeffer, a 103-year-old ballroom dancer, liked silent
movies as a child. She loved getting the right to vote in 1920
Myrna Webb devoted 57 years to her late husband, Charles,
whose sister she met while working in a West Virginia hospital.
He was in the cavalry in Wyoming, and Webb wrote to him for two
years, met him, then married him five days later.
"We never had a fuss in our lives because if I would
get mad, I'd sing, and he'd say, 'Children, we'd better take
a walk. Your mother's singing again,'" the 102-year-old
Minnie O'Donnell, who traveled west from Arkansas at age 6
in a covered wagon, marveled at the advent of trains, planes
and spaceships. A mall walker five days a week, O'Donnell, 102,
is counting on her feet to keep taking her places this year.
"I'm ready for whatever comes," she said.
pics from the party...
It was a sunny last day of the 20th century for these centenarians,
gathered at the home of Lynn Peters Adler, founder of the National
Centenarian Awareness Project, to welcome the new millennium.
Schaeffer, Ruth Jacobson, Merle McEathron, George Freestone and
Emma Urie are going to have their cake and eat it, too, as they
ready to usher in the new millennium.
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