Lady, nearing 105, puts church and family first

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 2, 2004

BURLINGTON - Mellie Lynd remembers the days of the horse and buggy.

She remembers when a camera was called a shutterbox. She remembers going to shows, rather than movies. But, the most important details of her life she remembers and honors daily are church and family.

The 104-year-old lady, who resides at Heartland of Riverview, will turn 105 on April 7. Mellie was born in Kentucky - the firstborn out of eight children.Her family moved to South Point when she was still a child.

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As Mellie reflected

upon her life, she talked about what most people nowadays often refer to as dating.

Mellie fondly remembers her courtship as a young girl with the beau she ended up marrying in 1917. The couple would have celebrated their 65th wedding anniversary two weeks before he passed away at the age of 97.

She keeps a double photograph frame on her nightstand with her wedding day picture on one side and a copy of her marriage license on the other. In the picture, Mellie is smiling and you can see the couple's happiness in their eyes.

The farmer who captured the heart of the 18-year-old Mellie was Haskell Lynd. When asked the secret of her long and happy marriage, she said it was simply "true love."

The couple first met when Haskell was driving by the school Mellie attended. He got her attention when he drove by in his Reo truck while she was outside. He waved and threw her an apple to eat.

When he brought her home one night, another suitor had walked by.

"Haskell said, 'No, you're not going to see her. She's my girl,"'

After they were married, he taught her to drive and bought her a Ford car. One day, he pulled up in horse and buggy with a piano for her.

The Solida Baptist Church in South Point has been an enormous part of Mellie's life since she was saved at the age of 13. She also became the church pianist at that age.Although Haskell was not saved when they were married, Mellie was thrilled when he was saved about 10 years later.

"I kept talking to him about it (getting saved) and he did it for himself. I was so happy," she said.

Pastor Aaron Childers of Solida Baptist Church in South Point visits with Mellie on a regular basis to talk and pray.

"I go to be a blessing to her, but she ends up being a blessing to me," he said, "She always asks how the church is doing and says she's always praying for the church."

Devotion to God and her church is as open and honest as Mellie's bright eyes.

"It means the world to me," she said.

Betty Woodruff, 70, of South Point, said the way her mother has led her life is an inspiration for their entire family.

"She always took us to church. By her example of going, it makes us want to go. She was always a wonderful example of hard work, home and family."

It is hard to tell Mellie's true age by looking at her. She keeps her snowy hair closely curled and a light gleams in her eyes.

For a pre-birthday event, Millie was transported by limousine to Bob Evans for lunch. She was presented with a dozen yellow roses, which happens to be her favorite flower, from the restaurant for her birthday.

Coincidentally, Mellie also has eight children: Alice Bennett of Vermont, Garland Lynd, Bill Lynd, Garnet Woodruff and Betty Woodruff, all of South Point; Evelyn Cochran of Minnesota, the late Freda Bowman and the late Melba Cochran.She also has 30 grandchildren, 62 great-grandchildren and 58 great-great-grandchildren.