Hard work kept woman going strong

January 18, 1998

Hard work kept woman going strong


Staff Writer

The oldest resident of Homewood Retirement Community, Viola Swope Bloyer, died Saturday. She was 104.

She was one of the oldest residents of Washington County, believed to be second only to Sarah "Kitty" Jennings, 108, of Clear Spring.

Like Jennings, Bloyer was a farm wife.

"Many folks think the good outdoor air and homegrown foods are a secret (to long life)," said Estelle Smith, Jennings' daughter and Bloyer's neighbor.


The Smith house is built on a lot that is part of the Bloyer farm.

Bloyer, a Washington County native, taught school after her graduation from Washington County High School in 1914.

"In those days you could teach school right after high school, if you passed an exam," said her daughter, Mildred M. Powell, of Clear Spring. "They had to use a horse and buggy to get to Hagerstown and the only county high school.

"Mother was never ill until into her 80s," said Powell, 65.

Bloyer "never went to doctors nor used medications," until her later years, her daughter recalled.

"She ate typical farm fare: fresh vegetables in the summer, canned veggies in the winter, real butter, pork and chicken. She drank whole milk. She cooked with lard," Powell said.

Bloyer did not leave her farm home and beloved flower gardens until age 98. She had been a Homewood resident since September 1991.

"Mrs. Bloyer was active, involved and had an active interest in life," said Ann Wells, director of nursing at the retirement community in Williamsport. "She was pleasant and very friendly."

Homewood is home to 380 residents, 145 in the nursing care center.

"Until recently, Mother was mentally alert," Powell said. "She got around with a walker until being restricted to a wheelchair.

"My mother was pretty remarkable. She was testament to hard work. She remained active and interested in many things all her life," Powell said.

Bloyer was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, G. William Bloyer, in 1970. In addition to Powell, she has a son, W. Robert Bloyer of Hagerstown; four granddaughters and a grandson; and three great-grandchildren.

She was a member of St. Paul's Lutheran Church, Clear Spring.

Her funeral is Tuesday.

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