Saturday, June 02, 2001

Mason woman celebrates 106th

Native Ohioan was longtime pastor's wife

By Denise Smith Amos
The Cincinnati Enquirer

        Maude Poling couldn't hear much of her birthday song, but she sang along anyway.

        Mrs. Poling turns 106 today but celebrated her birthday a day early at Mason Christian Village, where she lives.

        She and friends and family shared a cake with three candles shaped like numbers, proclaiming her one of the Cincinnati area's oldest residents.

[photo] Maude Poling celebrates her 106th birthday with her daughter, Gwen Jasper, during a party Friday.
(Family photo)
        According to Gwen Jasper, Mrs. Poling's 83-year-old daughter, everyone used to think her mother was a sickly child.

        “Most of her life they said she wasn't well,” Mrs. Jasper said, laughing. She said people thought Mrs. Poling had a heart malady.

        Mrs. Poling was born a farm girl in 1895 in Baltimore, Ohio, near Columbus. She met and married a farm boy who became a teacher. Shortly afterward, he was called to the Methodist ministry, and she became a pastor's wife.

        Life was not always easy. At that time, Methodist ministers were required to move every four years, said Mrs. Jasper.

        The couple and their daughter moved from city to city in Ohio; Mrs. Jasper attended seven schools before graduating.

        Pastors' wives helped with the ministry full-time back then. Mrs. Poling put up out-of-town guests of the church, hosted church events, taught Sunday school, led the choir and in general maintained an open hearth and home, her daughter said.

        “I can remember during the Depression - they called them tramps back then — tramps would come to the door for meals and money. Mother always fed them a meal, had them over and visited with them.”

        After retirement, the couple raised cattle on Mrs. Poling's family farm.

        They moved off the farm when Clinton Poling was 95; he died at age 99.

        Now Mrs. Poling uses a wheelchair, Mrs. Jasper said. She and the other residents throw around big balls for exercise.

        Though she has problems with memory and hearing, she remembered to thank her daughter and the other partiers and then blew out one of her candles.


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