Tiger fan celebrates 106th birthday

by CLIFF AND NANCY HILL

As you read this article, you will, in part, be celebrating lifelong Rockford resident Mary Carpenter’s 106th birthday. Mary Dunn Carpenter, born in 1904, will be an amazing 106 years old on Thursday, March 25.

Mary Carpenter gives us all a goal to work toward as she nears her 106th birthday.

Now residing at Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, Mary has vivid memories of her life experiences in the greater Rockford community. At the same time, she would like everyone to know that she is still very much a woman of the present.

Aside from family and friends, Mary is regularly visited by the Care Ministry Team from her church family, the Rockford United Methodist Church. Team member Charlene Terranova said that Mary is an avid reader. “She daily reads the Grand Rapids Press from front to back, keeping abreast of national and state news,” said Terranova. “Currently, Mary, a farm girl at heart, is trying to understand the concept of ‘wind farms’ and battery-powered automobiles.”

Mary’s favorite section of the Press, however, is the sports pages, where she follows her beloved Detroit Tigers baseball team. She is still grieving over the trading of Curtis Granderson to the infamous N.Y. Yankees. Now Mary might well be the oldest living person in Michigan, but most certainly she is the oldest living female fan of the Detroit Tigers in the entire country!

Mary spends much of her time during the baseball season watching every televised Tiger game, and is looking forward to Opening Day 2010. Terranova, a Tiger fan herself, often joins Mary in watching the games. Terranova said, while watching a game that was tied in the ninth inning and about to go into extra innings, a Bishop Hills aide entered Mary’s room to announce that dinner was being served in the dining room. Mary emphatically replied, “I won’t leave my team until this game is over.” Now that’s a fan!

To say Mary loves to read is probably an understatement. She reads everything she lays her hands on, but maybe her favorite publication is The Rockford Squire newspaper, where she keeps abreast of the times and happenings of her beloved Rockford. Newspapers bring knowledge. When one stops reading, one stops learning. Ironically, the Squire, currently in its 139th year of publication, makes Mary somewhat of a youngster.

During a visit one afternoon, Terranova asked Mary how she felt about the significance of her upcoming 106th birthday. Mary replied, “I don’t know if that’s anything to brag about.”

Terranova told her that currently the oldest living person in the world is 127 and said to Mary, “You have a ways to go to catch up.”

Exhibiting a sense of humor that is part of Mary’s being, she gave out a hearty laugh.

Readers who would like to honor Mary with a birthday card (belated is fine), may send it to: Mary Carpenter, c/o Bishop Hills Elder Care Community, 4951 Eleven Mile Rd. #28, Rockford, MI 49341.

Perhaps the best gift of all would be a Detroit Tigers World Series championship this year. Is there any reader out there with an inside connection to the Detroit Tigers Baseball organization, who could secure an autographed baseball or a framed jersey for Mary’s room? Wouldn’t that be a wonderful thing?

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