Imagine navigating life against the backdrop of the Jazz Age, the Great Depression, two world wars, the Space Age, the Digital Age and many other historical events. The remarkable centenarians we serve at American Senior Communities possess a wealth of knowledge and are living historical treasures. What a privilege it is to share their amazing stories and valuable advice.
May 10, 1918
Barbara Partain has faced much adversity in her life, including having to raise a family during the Great Depression, but she has persevered through it all. She and her husband, Phil, worked as partners to raise four children and operate a farm. During the Great Depression, the family’s farm and garden would supply the whole town with food during times of great need. Still to this day, Barbara enjoys gardening and feeding the hummingbirds that visit Brownsburg Meadows. She now has many hands to help tend to her garden including her 13 grandchildren, 18 great-grandchildren and 16 great-great-grandchildren.
Barbara says her secret to living a long life is to always be honest. “If you’re always honest, you will be rewarded.”
July 20, 1918
Madonna “The Original” Brock has always lived a colorful life so it’s only appropriate that she requested a jazzy tea party for her 100th birthday. She said the two most important roles she has played throughout her life are being a mother and a wife. Her hobbies include painting and ceramics. Madonna says her secret to living a long life is to learn right from wrong early in life and to always do your best to be nice to others.
January 5, 1911
Mrs. Aylsworth was a music teacher for Springs Valley High School for decades. She was employed there while her husband Gilbert was the high school band director. This would soon become a tradition as her son John would go on to teach music there as well. Eventually, her grandson Luke would join him in teaching music and become the band director of the Springs Valley Blackhawk Brigade.
Mrs. Aylsworth was honored as an Indiana Bicentennial Torch bearer representing Springs Valley. She was inducted in 2014 to the Springs Valley Community Schools Hall of Fame celebrating her contribution to music in Springs Valley schools. Her musical legacy has left a permanent mark on the community.
October 6, 1913
Georgia Bunyon spent years as a nanny and working in the fields. She never had children, but she took care of relatives’ children. She attributes her longevity to eating good food and working hard. When Georgia celebrated her 101st birthday, she was placed in the oldest population segment in South Bend.
September 4, 1914
Vera Meadows is a Chicago native who graduated in 1932 from Central Catholic High School. She married Bill Meadows and together they had three children and many grandchildren. She was a cafeteria aide for several years. Her hobbies include dancing, reading, going on walks and being with family and friends.
When asked what her advice is for living a long life, she said, “Dance your heart out.”
October 27, 1918
While in her 80s, Florence May Rumrill completed six Indianapolis Life 500 Festival Mini‐Marathons, walking the 13.1‐mile course in downtown Indianapolis with thousands of other walkers. She was 86 when she participated in her last race. Florence never learned to drive, even after marrying and having children, but there was an upside to this. Not being able to drive meant that if her husband didn’t take her to where she wanted to go, she’d walk and he’d often walk with her, holding her hand the entire way.
June 20, 1915
Throughout Goldie Baker’s life, she has overcome adversity, but her faith has always remained strong. She says that she gets help from the good Lord.
“He sees fit to leave me here,” she said, “so here I am.”
Goldie is the second youngest out of nine siblings. She enjoys spending time with her niece, Deidra Baker.
One piece of advice Goldie offers is, “Whatever you’re doing that’s right, keep doing it.”
November 25, 1917
Carmen Leffler enjoys sewing, gardening and doing her and her friends’ hair. Her advice for living a long life is to always work hard.
August 6, 1911
Euphremia Morris said she loves most of the many modern conveniences of today, but there are some she’d rather not have. She says her advice for living a long life is to eat healthy foods, get plenty of rest, keep your mind busy and follow the Lord.
November 8, 1916
Cedric Fowler turned 100 years on Election Day in 2016, but age is just a number to him. Right before his 100th birthday he flew on a Warbird and would do it again in an instant. Mr. Fowler was born in Waynestown, Indiana and served in World War II in the Army Air Corps. After the war, he and his wife of 77 years, Dorothy, settled in Southport, where Mr. Fowler spent his career as an organ repairman, working statewide in churches and homes. The couple have a daughter together and three grandchildren.
September 24, 1918
Rita Snoke proudly acquired her teaching licenses from Ball State University in 1948. She went on to teach in Fort Wayne Community Schools for 30+ years. Her advice to others is to always be kind, help others, love your family, work hard and love God.
June 25, 1916
Nancy Thomas is a dedicated family woman, with 10 children. Her children can attest that she is the best mother, always putting her children and others before herself. Around Danville, she is known as “NASCAR Nancy,” because of her love for NASCAR racing. Nancy’s hobbies include gardening, cooking, crocheting, sewing and playing bingo.
September 19, 1915
Ruthanna Ridenour wanted to get the word out that she was reaching a major milestone, turning 100-years-old, so she announced the news on Facebook and asked for 100 likes. Instead, she got 72,000 likes, 94,597 shares and a whopping 9.6, million people wishing her a happy birthday. She had greetings from around the world, including Germany, New Zealand, Australia, Malaysia, Switzerland, Puerto Rico and Palestine. When asked what her secret to longevity is, Mrs. Ridenour had this to say: “Just keep on breathing.”
November 17, 1914
Virginia Niemann met her husband when she was 7 years old. She said, “While all the other boys would chase the girls during recess, there was one that would not, and I thought to myself, this is who I am going to marry.” And she did just that! Virginia always had her eyes on the prize. She fulfilled her dreams of becoming a successful clothing designer for women’s sportwear. She always had an interest in sports and attributes her love of exercise and nutrition to the reason why she has lived a long life. She even participated in water aerobics until she was 98!
October 15, 1909
The year Carrie Braggs was born, the first Lincoln head penny was issued, the Indianapolis 500 Race Track opened, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People was organized. Mrs Braggs remained very sharp and witty throughout all her years. To live as long as Carrie Lee Braggs has lived, doctors suggest you stay active and eat lots of fruits and vegetables, and Carrie said she did just that. She also attributes living a healthy life to her faith and belief in God.
September 24, 1915
Lucille Klosterman was married for 54 years and has two sons. She spent years doing what she loved: gardening, planting vegetables and canning. Her other favorite hobbies were crocheting and sewing. This allowed her to make all of her family’s clothing. She was a fan of all kinds of music.
April 4, 1907
Sally Bradley is a native of Kentucky and a graduate of Kentucky State University, a historically black teacher’s college founded in the late 1880s. She was married and had no children but acted as a mother figure to the five children of her sister who died young. She also took in a special needs child she reared as her own. Her hobbies included fishing, watching basketball, going to Pacer games, gardening and cooking.
May 20, 1911
Edna Bowman was a very active woman. She enjoyed going outside, fishing, traveling, playing bridge, reading, cooking and knitting special things for others. To live a long life, she said, “Eat well and go to bed early. That is how you live a good life.”
May 22, 1912
Rennie Frutkin was born and raised in Cleveland, Ohio. He grew up to be a business executive, raising two sons with his beautiful wife, Anabel.
July 11, 1914
Cora Saxon enjoyed volunteering in her church, gardening, baking, dancing, playing bingo and writing letters. She worked in the family farming business before marriage after which she became a homemaker. Mrs Saxon said, “I used to follow my dad while he would take care of business. Mom was so busy, so this helped her out. I always looked forward to going with my dad. At the end of the day, he would buy me a candy bar. I’ve had a great life.” Her advice for a long life: “Trusting in God and keeping busy.”