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Morning Sun
  • PATRICK'S PEOPLE: Betty Marshall, Girard, recently turned 90 years old

  • As far as Betty Marshall knows, she’s the first of her family to reach the age of 90.

    “I’ve always been lucky,” she said.

    Marshall, a resident of the Heritage Nursing Home, Girard, was born June 27, 1923, at Melrose, a small community near Columbus. The daughter of Jesse and Anna Jarvis, she was one of seven children.

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  • As far as Betty Marshall knows, she’s the first of her family to reach the age of 90.
    “I’ve always been lucky,” she said.
    Marshall, a resident of the Heritage Nursing Home, Girard, was born June 27, 1923, at Melrose, a small community near Columbus. The daughter of Jesse and Anna Jarvis, she was one of seven children.
    “Then the family moved right on up to Columbus, to 1321 E. Maple,” she said. “I graduated from Cherokee County Community High School at Columbus, and went to work right out of graduation at the Triple A office at the Columbus courthouse. I was a stenographer and receptionist.”
    After two or three years of that she married Charles Edward “Chuck” Marshall from Mineral on Sept. 6, 1942.
    “We met kind of accidental in a store,” Marshall said. “He came down and introduced himself to my folks and we started dating, fell in love and got married.”
    Her husband served in the military during World War II, and she lived with her parents in Columbus while he was gone. The couple eventually had five children, four boys and a girl.
    They are Stephen Marshall of Girard, Don Marshall of Pittsburg, twins Jerry Marshall of Girard and Larry Marshall of Thayer and Marilynn Limpus of Harrisonville, Mo.
    “We lived on a farm east of Farlington,” said Don Marshall, retired after 26 years with the Pittsburg Police Department. “I spent my first 18 years on that farm. It was where the Bone Creek Reservoir is now. Where the Leaning Tree Boat Dock is was where we lived.”
    He remembers that his mother did a lot of canning and embroidering.
    “My mother made a baby blanket for each of the grandchildren and then the great-grands,” Don Marshall said.
    That proved to be an overwhelming task. Marshall has 18 grandchildren and 25 great-grandchildren — so far.
    “More are on the way,” she said.
    Don Marshall said that his parents had a grocery store and ran the Itco Store, a farm implement repair store.
    “My husband worked as an elevator manager in Liberal, Mo., then came back to Girard and opened the store,” Marshall said.
    Her husband died in 2001, and she also went through a period of illness that wasn’t correctly diagnosed for years.
    “She’s a celiac, and didn’t know it for 65 years,” Don Marshall said. “She read an article in ‘Reader’s Digest,’ then went to her doctor and said she had all the symptoms.”
    He said that the doctor was doubtful of this self-diagnosis, but the family insisted that Marshall be tested.
    “She was found to be highly intolerant of gluten, and was down to 75 pounds,” Don Marshall said. “She’s up to around 100 pounds now. She loves bread and butter, and bake non-gluten bread for her.”
    Page 2 of 2 - “The nursing home staff has been very accommodating about her diet,” added her daughter-in-law, Kay Marshall. “A woman who works here has a husband who’s gluten-intolerant, and she bakes gluten-free cupcakes and cookies and shares them with Betty.”
    The nursing home has also accommodated Marshall in another way that means a great deal to her. She was permitted to bring her cat, Ringo, with her when she moved in. Marshall has had the cat, who is 15, since he was a kitten.
    “Ringo was an outdoor cat, but Mom was worried about him when she moved here,” Don Marshall said. “We talked to the people here and they said it had never been done, but they’d try it out.”
    Marshall keeps her room door shut during the day so Ringo can’t get out and roam the halls.
    “He never tries to get out,” she said. “Sometimes he likes to lay in the window and watch the birds, but not now because it’s too hot. They want the room door open at night, so I put Ringo in a carrier and he goes to sleep.”
    There are a few people at the Heritage Nursing Home who don’t like cats, but Ringo has become a favorite with many residents.
    “Mom gets a lot of visitors, and some of them  come to see here,” Don Marshall said. “A lot of them come to see Ringo.”
    His mother said that both she and the cat are very content at the nursing home.
    “I’m well taken care of,” she said.  “I’ve got a large, loving family.”
    Many members of the family will gather Sunday at Farlington to celebrate Marshall’s birthday.
    “We should have about 54 people there Sunday, counting Mom,” Don Marshall said.
    None of her siblings are left, and Marshall has no idea why she has been the one to live so long.
    “God knows, I guess,” she said. “I feel wonderful, no pain anywhere. I I don’t know how long I’ve got left, but I’ll enjoy it.”
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