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Published: Wednesday, 10/5/2005

Oregon: "Pretty active" Luther Hills neighbor celebrates 100

BY ERIKA RAY
BLADE STAFF WRITER

Joyce Gladys Dryden said she enjoys working on puzzles and playing solitaire because those types of activities require her to use her mind.

Along with exercising her brain, the woman who turned 100 years old Oct. 1 also regularly exercises her body with a chair workout and still does her own cooking, cleaning, laundry, and ironing.

"She's pretty active," said Marilyn Doyle, 81, who is Ms. Dryden's neighbor at the Luther Hills independent living apartment complex in Oregon. "She's very independent. She's something else, that gal."

Friends, local family, and relatives from Texas and New Mexico arrived last week to help celebrate her birthday. Ms. Dryden first enjoyed a celebration at her apartment complex Sept. 30, then a luncheon after the Oct. 2 service at First St. Mark's Lutheran Church in Oregon, where she has been an active member for many years.

"It means a lot to me to have friends," Ms. Dryden said, looking around at the pals she's made at her apartment complex.

One of her closest is Ms. Doyle because the two are in charge of looking after one another. "She's a great cook, and she's always slipping me something to eat," Ms. Doyle said. "She's a very good neighbor."

Ms. Dryden enjoys reading, taking care of her apartment, and going out with her daughter, Mary Jo Dressell, once a week to shop.

"She doesn't drive anymore, but she is so together mentally that it's remarkable," Mrs. Dressell said.

Ms. Dryden was born in 1905 in Angola, Ind., and graduated from Angola High School in 1924.

She said she worked for J.C. Penny Co. before getting a job as a bookkeeper for A&P Tea Co., where she worked for 25 years. There, she said she "did everything there was to do," from running the register because she was good with figures to sweeping the store at the end of the day.

She came to the Toledo area after being transferred to another store 60 years ago.

As for her family, she and her husband, John, had three children: Jean Rost, 80, of Cedar Crest, N.M.; Mrs. Dressel, 76, of Whitehouse, Ohio; and a son, Jack, who died during World War II while serving in the U.S. Air Force. Her husband died in 1990.

She also has eight living grandchildren, 11 great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.

Luther Hills Manager Jill Schumacher said Ms. Dryden is the first centenarian who's lived in the complex in the 10 years it's been open. Ms. Dryden has been a resident for eight of those years.

"We've waited for this day for a long time," Ms. Schumacher said. "She's quite an inspiration to all the other residents who are, of course, younger than her."

Ms. Dryden was told that she could have whatever kind of food she wanted at her celebration at the complex, and said all she wanted was "ground baloney." Along with that request, guests enjoyed other food and, of course, an elegant birthday cake.

"She is mentally sharp as a tack, and she's just a very pleasant gal," Ms. Schumacher said. "She's just a model resident. We can't ask for anyone better."



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