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'B' is for birthday

City resident Mary Shank, who turned 103 Sunday, was given the chance to call a game Thursday night at the Elks Lodge Bargain Bi

City resident Mary Shank, who turned 103 Sunday, was given the chance to call a game Thursday night at the Elks Lodge Bargain Bi

September 06, 2002|by MARLO BARNHART

marlob@herald-mail.com

Not one for a lot of hoopla, Mary Shank thought she was going to observe her 103rd birthday quietly Thursday evening at the Hagerstown Elks Lodge No. 378 Bargain Bingo night.

But she had to "work" for her cake and ice cream - she called the first bingo game for the room full of players, friends and family.

"I come here once a week to play," Mary said. "And I also play in Clear Spring - they had a party for me there, too, last weekend."

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Mary insists she plays bingo strictly for fun but she did win a $500 prize recently in Clear Spring.

With fair vision and strong legs, Mary said she likes to do things. Sitting around isn't her style and she refuses to use a cane.

In addition to bingo at least twice a week, Mary goes shopping with her youngest daughter, Maude Myers, and regularly attends church at the Living Word Worship Center on Pinehill Drive.

"I live with mom in her house" in the 500 block of George Street, Myers said.

Mary has two other living children, Helen McSherry and Raymond Dobbins, both of Hagerstown. "Maude is my baby," Mary said, referring to her 75-year-old daughter.

Two other children died, one at a very young age and another just a year ago, Myers said. There are seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and about eight great-great-grandchildren, Myers said.

Mary's husband, Jacob Shank, died in 1966.

"I grew up on a farm," Mary said. She credits no smoking, no drinking and going to church regularly for her long life.

Retired for many years from the linen department at The Alexander House when it was a hotel, Mary has tried to stay as active as possible. She bowled until she was in her 80s and recalls rollerskating at a great granddaughter's birthday party 17 years ago.

"Bingo" John Miller said Thursday night at the Elks Club that Mary told him she has been playing bingo since she was 16 years old, back in the days when the game was played with pieces of corn.

"She likes her bingo," Miller said.

Myers agreed, saying her mother usually stays from 7 p.m. until about 10 p.m. on Elks' Bargain Bingo night.

Born Sept. 1, 1899, Mary can say she has lived in three different centuries. William McKinley was president at that time. Since then, 19 presidents have been in office.

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