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Hagerstown woman celebrates 100th birthday

October 19, 2007|By JANET HEIM

HAGERSTOWN - Mary Bartles still can't believe she got a birthday card from President George W. Bush.

"That surprised me awful. I never expected to hear from the President," Bartles said.

Or that 80 friends and family members gathered in her honor, including her pastor. For those present, though, marking Bartles' 100 years of life was worthy of a memorable celebration.

"It was a surprise party. I cried," Bartles said of the party her family threw for her at Coffman Nursing Home, where she has been a resident for 12 years.

The party was held on her birthday, Sunday, Oct. 7.

With members from six generations of her family present, it was hard to keep emotions in check. Three of Bartles' six sons are still living, along with 16 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, 13 great-great-grandchildren and at least one great-great-great-grandchild.

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Mary Hamby Bartles was born in Pennsylvania, but raised in Maryland on the Winger Farm off Salem Avenue.

She attended school through ninth grade, then was needed at home to help run the household.

Bartles was the fourth of 11 children.

She was almost 18 when she married Herman Bartles Sr. in 1924. They were married 65 years before his death in 1990.

George Bartles said his mother was strict.

"She raised us the way we were supposed to be," he said.

Mary Bartles remains proud of her sons and her parenting.

"I raised them right. They didn't give me no trouble," she said.

George Bartles attributes his mother's longevity to the way she took care of herself and to her faith. She attended church regularly at Broadfording Church of the Brethren Fellowship when she could and now looks forward to weekly visits from her pastor.

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