A long, wonderful life

By on April 1, 2015

Elva Walter Biemesderfer, the young Denver woman who enjoyed a trip to see her family in Wyoming in 1917, lived a notable life into the 21st century.

According to her obituary which appeared in the former Lancaster New Era and Lancaster Intelligencer Journal, Biemesderfer was a well-educated woman, graduating from the former Denver High School in 1915 and from the Millersville Normal School (now Millersville University) in 1917. At Millersville, she was a member of the Campus Club and served as its president through 1960.

Photo courtesy Barbara Hunsberger Elva Walter Biemesderfer in her later years.

Photo courtesy Barbara Hunsberger
Elva Walter Biemesderfer in her later years.

Shortly before turning 100, the Elva W. Biemesderfer Scholarship was established at Millersville University for students majoring in speech communication with an area of expertise in theater.

She was also a member of the Present-Day Club and the auxiliaries of the Lancaster General Hospital and the Easter Seal Society. She directed plays for the Millersville Lions Club and the Iris Club, both of which she was a member.

She also belonged to St. Paul Lutheran Church, Millersville, where she directed the choir for 25 years. Biemesderfer, in her last years, belonged to the Luther Acres Good Samaritan Choir, which she directed at times.

She also had another long and direct connection to Millersville University: she was married to former MU President D. Luke Biemesderfer. Their union produced three children, 10 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren, and a great-great-granddaughter.

When she died in February 2001, she was 102 years old and the oldest living graduate of her high school.

Interviewed on her 100th birthday, Biemesderfer seemed mesmerized by her long life and the happiness she experienced.

“I never thought of how long I would live,” she told a reporter. “I just enjoyed living, and I enjoy laughing — that might be my secret — I laugh at a lot of things.”

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