Four "Fletcher kids" still going strong 09.10.09

Written by David Green.

When Delora Ehlinger turned 100 in 2005, her younger sister, Sarah Johnson, said, “Who knows? She might last another 20.”

That would be quite an achievement, but Delora is still headed in that direction. On Sept. 20 she’ll turn 104.

She takes top billing, but don’t forget her siblings. Sarah turned 96 years old Sept. 9 and two brothers are also in their 90s. Elwood is now 93 and Rex is 90.

Those are the four remaining members of what their nieces and nephews used to call “The Magnificient Seven.”

George died several years ago, Russel, at age 98, died in 2006, and the youngster, Iola Jean, was only 79 when she died in 2007.

“The rest of us are doing pretty good,” Sarah said.

Sarah worked for the Morenci Home Telephone company for 20 years, including about 10 years after the switch to the direct dial telephone system was made.

Sarah is looking forward to a special birthday present this weekend when her son, Alan, takes her for a ride on the three-wheel motorcycle he built. There’s no sidecar, she said.

“I’ll be sitting right behind him,” Sarah explained.

She’s using a walker now to help her get around, but she says she’s in good shape and still enjoys traveling with friends to Archbold for card games.

She takes large-print books to Delora, who enjoys reading every afternoon.  Delora was employed by the city for many years as treasurer and she remains Morenci High School’s oldest living graduate.

Elwood lives at the Lenawee Medical Care Facility and is now confined to a wheelchair, Sarah said, but he remains chipper. He worked in a variety of jobs over his lifetime, ranging from agriculture to bus driver.

Rex, a Florida resident, was engaged in carpentry and construction work for many years and he was part of the crew that built Morenci’s high school. He retired long ago, but he really hasn’t stopped making things, Sarah said.

“He thinks up plans and then goes out  every day and makes something,” she said.

It’s a remarkable set of siblings and the way it’s going, Delora might not be the only one to reach the century mark.


Reunion

The Fletcher family met at Wakefield Park Aug. 8 for the 60th annual reunion. The event is scheduled in Morenci every year.

Seventy-nine people attended, coming from  Morenci, Adrian, Clinton, Muskegon and Harrison, Mich., and Florida, Georgia, Ohio and Illinois.

  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.crossing
    Crossing over—Jim Heiney was given a U.S. flag to carry by George Vereecke (behind Jim in the hat), turning him into the leader of the parade. Bridge Walk participants cross over Bean Creek while, in the background, members of the Morenci Legion Riders cross the main traffic bridge on East Street South. Additional photos appear on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.
  • Front.starting
    BIKE-A-THON—Children in Morenci’s Summer Recreation Program brought their bikes last Tuesday to participate in a bike-a-thon. Riders await the start of the event at the elementary school before being led on a course through town by organizer Leonie Leahy.
  • Front.train
    WRECKAGE—Morenci Fire Department member Taylor Schisler walks past the smoking wreckage of a semi-truck tractor on the north side of the Norfolk and Southern Railroad tracks on Ranger Highway. The truck trailer was on the south side of the tracks

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