Thelma Mae (Shultz) Taylor — possibly Delaware County’s oldest living resident — will celebrate her 105th birthday this Sunday.
Taylor, the daughter of Claude and Blanche Schultz, was born Dec. 23, 1913, in Long Bottom, Ohio, but when she was a teenage girl, her father moved the family to Delaware County, west of Radnor.
“Grandpa came up in the winter first,” said Pat Snare, one of Taylor’s four children. “The rest of the family came later.”
Long Bottom is a southern Ohio community located in Olive Township of Meigs County along the Ohio River.
“When they moved from Meigs County, grandpa had all their food put on the train, but the potatoes froze on the way here,” Snare said. “I don’t know how they lived that year.”
Snare said that Taylor is the only one of nine brothers and sisters still living.
“Her last brother passed away two years ago,” she said. “He was 93. Her mother passed away at 68, and her father was 88 when he passed away.”
Sometime later, after moving to the Radnor area, Taylor met and married Thomas Taylor, a native to Delaware County, on Nov. 8, 1933. The couple was married 70 years until his passing in June 2004.
“Dad was born in 1912 in northern Delaware County,” Snare said. “He lived to be 92 years old.”
Snare said her mother, like most people whether they are 105 or younger, has her good and bad days. So, while Taylor ate the piece of pumpkin pie her daughter had brought her, Snare told Taylor’s life story.
“I usually bring her two cookies,” she said. “I thought I’d give her the piece of pie first. She hasn’t said anything about wanting a cookie.”
Currently, Taylor resides at Ashley Manor Assisted Living in Ashley, where Snare visits her mother as often as she can.
“She moved to Ashley Manor Assisted Living in May of 2007,” Snare said. “She has lived here quite a while.”
Snare said after her parents were married, they lived in the same house near Radnor their entire marriage.
“She has four children: Lowell, Pat, Sherry, Linda; 11 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and 18 great-great-grandchildren,” she said.
Snare said she lives in Marion, her brother, Lowell, still lives in Radnor, one sister lives in Texas, and the other lives in Michigan.
Snare said she thinks her parents might have met at church or on a Sunday afternoon, because back then, the neighbors would get together and play softball.
“She was a wonderful bread and pie baker,” Snare said. “It all came from scratch. It didn’t come from a box or a frozen container.”
Snare said her parents owned and worked a small farm.
“Mom helped dad out on the farm,” she said. “She was a wonderful gardener. She would go out early in the morning and come in about nine, and then she would go out again in the evening when it was cool again.”
Snare said growing up, the family would go to their grandparents to pick blackberries.
“We’d then go home, clean the blackberries, and make jams and jellies,” she said. “Mom did a lot of canning and making jellies.”
However, the one thing her mother wasn’t was a “sewer,” Snare said. “Grandma did all the sewing.”
Snare said the family didn’t have a lot of money to spend, because her father wasn’t a big farmer like the ones today. She said, however, for the most part, though, he was a successful farmer.
“We pretty well took care of ourselves because we had the chickens, meat, milk and the garden,” she said. “Dad was a sheep shearer. In the spring of the year, he would shear a lot of sheep.”
Snare said her mother enjoys Christian music and at one time, she played the piano.
“Not very good but she would sit down and pluck at it,” she said.
Snare said later in life when her father was living, he would take her mother out to lunch every day.
“They always had to go out for lunch to either Bob Evans or Wendy’s,” she said. “Whenever they went to Bob Evans, dad ordered the same thing every day. In his later years, he wasn’t able to drive, so mom did the driving.”
Contact D. Anthony Botkin at 740-413-0902. Follow him on Twitter @dabotkin.