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Published: Friday, 1/9/2009

Ex-area resident, 90, bags deer on 1st shot

You're never too old to start deer hunting.

Just ask Cissy Rodabough who recently bagged her first buck in her home state of Mississippi - at age 90.

"I tell you the truth, it surprised me," Mrs. Rodabough said. Until she reached 90, she adds, "I never had a gun in my hand."

Twice widowed and a breast cancer survivor, Mrs. Rodabough lived in Blissfield, Mich., and Toledo for more than 50 years. Three years ago, after returning to Mississippi, she married T.B. Rodabough, the man she calls "my childhood sweetheart." He's 91.

T.B. Rodabough, 91, left, and Cissy Rodabough, 90, right, get together with relatives at the family farm in Becker Bottom, Miss. He taught Mrs. Rodabough, a former Toledo-area resident, how to use a rifle and she killed a four-point buck. She had never held a gun until age 90. T.B. Rodabough, 91, left, and Cissy Rodabough, 90, right, get together with relatives at the family farm in Becker Bottom, Miss. He taught Mrs. Rodabough, a former Toledo-area resident, how to use a rifle and she killed a four-point buck. She had never held a gun until age 90.
NOT BLADE PHOTO Enlarge

As for guns, "I married into a hunting family," Mrs. Rodabough notes.

"T.B. has been my guide. He taught me how to handle a gun and everything."

After some introductory shooting lessons and target practice this fall, Cissy and T.B. proceeded to set up in a deer blind, a small, old, two-wheeled trailer that once was set up as a hunting stand for T.B.'s late son, Lamar, who was mobility impaired by an accident.

The couple were hunting on the Rodabough family farm in Becker Bottom, near Aberdeen, Miss. Their first two outings didn't produce a shot, but the third time was the charm.

A small, four-point buck came along and Cissy killed it with one shot - the first shot she ever fired at game, using a World War II-vintage 30-caliber M-1 Carbine.

"She said it didn't kick very much," said her son, Bill McDowell of Liberty Center, about the little rifle. As to the deer she bagged, "she at first thought it was a doe. She had mismatched hunting clothes and everything."

After bagging the buck, which weighed about 130 pounds, Cissy helped T.B. drag it out of the woods and load it into the trunk of their Cadillac to take it to be dressed and processed. It is clear the couple are a team.

"Each of us has a ridin' lawnmower. We do everything together at our tender age," Cissy said.

Born in Wren, Miss., her given name was Helon "Cissy" Dollar - "as in dollar bill," her son adds. Eventually she came north and married the late William L. McDowell, Sr. They lived many years in the Blissfield area, until he died of cancer 28 years ago. Cissy later married Stanley Kornacki of Toledo, who died about 10 years ago.

About four years ago, T.B., a widower, contacted Elizabeth Wamble, Cissy's sister, to see whether she was coming down to the Wren School reunion. She attended, they caught up on old news, and made big news by getting married.

"I came home," Cissy sums up simply.

She never expected, of course, to get involved in deer hunting in Becker Bottom. Her one-time passion was ballroom dancing. But that, as they say, is life - especially after 90 years.

Cissy said she was surprised that The Blade way back in Toledo would be interested in her hunting adventures, but she claims she was an avid reader when she lived in this region.

"I never missed it," she said. "It was my favorite paper."

Contact Steve Pollick at:

spollick@theblade.com

or 419-724-6068.



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