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Can't slow Williamsport octogenarian down

November 06, 2007|By JANET HEIM

WILLIAMSPORT - Mary Myers was raised with a strong work ethic, so when it came time to retire, she never saw it as a time to slow down. Instead, it was a time to give back.

Myers, 89, moved to Parkview Knoll in Williamsport 10 years ago, about two years after retiring. Not one to be idle, Myers began volunteering at the Williamsport Senior Center five days a week, from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.

She said her work ethic came out of necessity when her father was hit by a car and died when she was about 9 years old.

Her mother had to take a job outside the home to support her seven children, who ranged in age from 3 to 13. The children were expected to work in the house and tend the garden.

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They got paying jobs as soon as they were old enough. Myers, who was born in Indian Springs and raised in Big Spring, went to high school through 10th grade.

As an adult, Myers worked in a leather company and a rubber company, as well as cleaning houses for other people. She earned her GED when she was in her 70s.

She married James William Myers in 1947, and they were married almost 50 years when he died 12 years ago. Myers has an adult son and daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

The Myerses had put their name on a waiting list for senior citizen housing in Williamsport. It wasn't until after her husband's death that Mary got a call with the news there was an opening for her.

Myers assists Kim Boden, manager at the site, who plans the activities, which include bingo, dominoes and beanbag tosses. Sometimes Boden arranges to have a speaker or a performance from a school group.

The group had a Halloween party last week and carved pumpkins.

Myers helps serve a hot lunch and helps pack the meals that are to be delivered. She said there usually are about 14 seniors who come for the program at the center and about 14 meals are delivered.

Myers, who is older than some of the seniors she is helping, likes to keep active.

"Well, I was always a worker. I do my own housework, washing, everything," she said.

She said she avoids eating potato chips and drinking "pop," and does lots of walking.

"I have to tell her to slow down sometimes, and she's older than me. She's here every day and can run the site for me when I have a meeting. She keeps an eye on the place and is a good worker," Boden said.

Anyone with an interest in volunteering may call Boden at 301-223-6588 during morning hours.

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