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Mim’s the word
Moore, county’s oldest resident, celebrates her 110th birthday
By Laura Knowles
Miriam “Mim” Moore had tears in her eyes when Chaplain Tony Tilford read a birthday poem to one of his favorite people.
“Her heart still dances at one-hundred-and-ten!” read Tilford, as Mim’s face glowed with a warm smile and she grasped his hand.
That’s right, Mim Moore marked her 110th birthday at Luther Acres Healthcare Center on Saturday, Jan. 28.
The boundlessly cheerful Mim was born in Columbia during the winter of 1907. Although no one has a record, she was likely a smiling baby.
Her son, Ed Moore, traveled from Gulf Shores, Ala., for her birthday party. He was quick to share that his mother is the most optimistic, upbeat person he has ever known.
“My mother always has a smile on her face. She is always happy,” said Moore, just as Mim’s step-great-granddaughter Savannah Weaver came up to give her great-grandmother a hug and kiss.
Mim beamed with joy at seeing the 11-year-old, saying, “So good to see you!”
It’s easy to see why Mim is treasured by everyone she knows for her happiness. She is truly joyful. The nurses and staff at Luther Acres agree. Her family adores her and so does Rosie, the campus dog at Luther Acres.
While Mim is now in a wheelchair and is hard of hearing, she still remembers the music that drew her to dance with joy her entire life.
She met her husband, J. Edwin Moore, an iron worker, in the 1930s at the Hershey Ballroom, where Guy Lombardo and his band would perform. She loved the waltz and fox trot.
“I was an excellent dancer,” she said. “I wish I could still dance.”
The two danced their way to a wedding day in 1937. They were married for 47 years, when he died in 1984.
The couple had one son, J. Edwin Moore Jr., followed by two grandchildren, Paul Moore of Ephrata and Michele Moore Thomas of Columbia. Paul, an officer with the Ephrata Borough Police Department, received an award in 2014 for delivering a baby.
Then there are five great-grandchildren, as well as several step-great-grandchildren. Everyone gathered for her 110th birthday party to indulge in sandwiches, pizza, cake and ice cream.
“I’m looking forward to the cake,” said Mim as she glanced over at the yellow and white birthday cake that said “Happy 110th Birthday, Grandma!”
Mim credits making it to her 110th birthday with being happy. She is just as surprised as anyone that she has made it to her landmark birthday. She is one of the oldest Pennsylvanians. Records list one woman at 113, another at 111 and one other at 110, a few months older than Mim Moore. The oldest Pennsylvanian ever is considered to be Sarah Knauss, who died at 119 in 1999.
Mim Moore believes that having at least one piece of chocolate every day has contributed to her status as a supercentenarian (that’s someone who is older than 110).
“I love chocolate,” Mim says with emphasis. “I like milk chocolate best.”
Despite her many years, her memory is good. She recalls her happy life as a wife and mother. Her life was not always easy, though. Born at home in Columbia, she was the fifth of six children of Mathias and Ellen Teufel. Her mother died of tuberculosis when she was just 7. Her older sister helped to care for her and her younger brother. Their father died when Mim was 14. After that, she went to live with an aunt and uncle in Columbia.
For almost all of her life, she lived on the same street in Columbia. She wasn’t able to finish school, going to work as a weaver at the nearby former Schwartzenbach-Huber Silk Mill to help support herself.
Still she remembers her childhood as being happy, with sledding in winter, swimming at the local pool in summer, and playing with her beloved dog Trixie. Now, when she sees Rosie, the campus dog at Luther Acres, she smiles at the memory of her precious dog.
Mim is a charter member of the Eastern Star of Pennsylvania. She taught Sunday school and sang in the choir at St. John’s Lutheran Church in Columbia. She volunteered at the local hospital as a cherry red lady and at the Columbia Tourist Center. She was a lunch counter regular at Hinkle’s Pharmacy.
Mim was also a Democratic committee chairperson in Columbia, and she votes in every election, including the most recent presidential contest in November.
Always one to give to her community, she was a founder of Meals on Wheels at St. John’s Lutheran Church, where she helped to shop for and prepare meals for seniors and people who were homebound.
Over the years, she worked in several restaurants while raising her son. One of her passions was playing bridge with friends. Until recently, she was still able to play at Luther Acres.
Mim lived in her own home until she was in her late 90s, when she moved to St. John’s Herr Estate. A few years ago, she moved to the sister community at Luther Acres when she needed more care. She considers herself lucky to be in relatively good health.
“She never complains,” says her son, adding that his mother still joins activities, even if she can just watch.
She is there for card games, exercise classes, watching movies, watching TV and more. She loves to be around people. She also loves to read, all kinds of books.
And she still sings with joy.
When Chaplain Tilford read his poem about her dancing, she smiled brightly. The poem told about how she wished she could leap out of her chair to swirl and twirl on the dance floor.
Then she joined in with Tilford to sing her favorite hymn, “How Great Thou Art” in her strong voice. She told Tilford that she was ready to dance freely in Heaven.
“God has blessed me with a wonderful life,” she said.
Laura Knowles is a freelance feature writer and regular contributor to the Ephrata Review. She welcomes reader feedback and story tips at email@example.com.
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