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Hard work adds years to Hagerstown centenarian's life

Celebration marks Mildred Sellers' 100th birthday

Celebration marks Mildred Sellers' 100th birthday

June 23, 2008|By HEATHER KEELS

HAGERSTOWN - At 100 years old, Mildred Sellers might not have recognized all of the guests who gathered at the Eagles Club on Sunday to celebrate her milestone birthday, but plenty of people around town recognize her.

For years, Sellers was a fixture at the Red Men club in Williamsport, where she and her boyfriend, Harry Witmer, had a regular table, said her daughter-in-law, Scherry Sellers of Hagerstown. Older residents might remember her from the restaurant she ran with her sister, Friendly Lunch on West Washington Street, or Troy Laundry, where she worked for 45 years, Scherry Sellers said.

In fact, Mildred's son, Ralph Sellers, attributes his mother's long life in part to her hard work all those years.

Born June 17, 1908, Mildred lived in Harpers Ferry, W.Va., until she was 6, then moved to Hagerstown, Scherry said. Growing up, Mildred's mother constantly pulled her out of school so she could help tend her older sister's children, so she eventually gave up on ever catching up, Ralph Sellers said. Instead, she lied about her age to get a job at Troy Laundry at the age of 13.

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She was married when she was about 19, but was separated from her husband while Ralph was still a boy, he said. His memories from his childhood are of her working at the laundry all the time, he said.

"I don't think she was ever excessive in anything," Ralph Sellers said. "She never overate, never overindulged in alcohol. And a lot of it's luck, not getting this or that."

Mildred Sellers lived on her own until she was 90, when a cataract operation required her to move in with Ralph and Scherry. These days, her hearing is almost gone and she refuses to wear a hearing aid, and she is unsteady on her feet, Scherry Sellers said.

She spends her days eating, sleeping, watching TV, looking out the window and visiting with her grandchildren, her daughter-in-law said.

She also enjoys the family's trips to local cemeteries to carry on her tradition of placing flowers on deceased family members' graves. The tradition was generally a cheerful one, but as more and more of Mildred's siblings and friends have died, placing the flowers has become a more somber ritual, Scherry Sellers said.

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