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Woman's 100th birthday draws guests from 3 states

November 27, 2006|by JANET HEIM

BOONSBORO - Dorothy Mullan can touch her toes and still kicks up her heels when she dances. Her agility and energy belie the fact that she was born in 1906, when Theodore Roosevelt was president and a gallon of gasoline cost five cents.

As friends and family gathered at Reeders Memorial Home in Boonsboro on her 100th birthday on Nov. 16, she delighted in greeting guests as they arrived. Her 96-year-old sister and 82-year-old brother were to be in attendance.

Balloons in the colors of the season matched the autumnal floral decorations on the tables as guests shared in a birthday luncheon for Mullan. Photographs of Mullan were displayed throughout the large room.

Mullan is known as "Granny," a nickname that started because her granddaughter, Joan Starliper, works at Reeders. Starliper, a dietitian at the nursing home, planned the party and made a point of including staff and residents, as well as friends and family.

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Guests traveled from Delaware, Northern Virginia and Maryland, including Montgomery and Prince George's counties. Julianna Albowicz was to present Mullan with a certificate on behalf of Sen. Barbara Mikulski.

Dorothy Almond was born and raised in Brentwood, Md., near Washington, D.C. She was the second of six children.

She worked as a beautician for 55 years and had her own shop in the D.C. area.

A blind date led to her marriage to John Bartley, who was originally from South Carolina. He was in the U.S. Army Medical Corps, serving at Walter Reed Medical Center in Washington, D.C., when the couple met.

They had one child, Raymond Bartley, who lives in Martinsburg, W.Va. Mullan has four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

The Bartleys were married about 15 years before John Bartley's death. Ray Bartley said his parents had a happy marriage and he didn't remember them ever arguing.

Dorothy later married Lucius Mullan. They were also married about 15 years, said Bartley, 78.

Bartley said his mother's passions were dancing and playing cards, including bridge. She also enjoyed gardening. He thinks these pursuits, as well as her long career, have contributed to her longevity.

"I like all kinds of dances," Mullan said as she took her son's hand for a spin on the dance floor.

Moderation in everything, and a healthy diet have been keystones in Mullan's lifestyle.

"I don't ever remember her going back for second helpings," Bartley said.

In 1978, Mullan moved to West Virginia to be closer to her son. When her health began deteriorating about three years ago, the decision was made to move Mullan to Reeders, where her granddaughter worked.

Bartley said it is his mother's character that has always impressed him - her patience and tolerance of others. He said she was a good counselor, having listened to her clients' problems for 55 years while she did their hair.

Age hasn't diminished her sparkle or attitude. She looks forward to celebrating more birthdays.

"As long as I can do everything I want to do," Mullan said with a grin.

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