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.


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.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • 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.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.

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