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Ironton woman celebrates 99th birthday

On Friday, 30-35 people gathered at the Ironton Senior Center to help Myrtle Stover celebrate her 99th birthday.

“Hey, Miss Myrtle,” said her friends greeting her at the center.

Stover hadn’t been there for a while, not since she had been moved into a nursing home to recovery from pneumonia.

“I can’t believe it,” Stover said. “There are a lot of people here.”

The room was decorated in a baseball theme to celebrate her love of the Cincinnati Reds, including a cake decorated with the Reds logo and bags of Cracker Jack on the tables.

“It’s her favorite team,” said Melinda Nance, coordinator and manager of the Ironton Senior Center. “When she was here in the afternoons, she had the Reds on. When she was working in the craft room, that’s what she liked to hear. She loves the Reds.”

Stover was well known for standing all day as she put quilts together.

“She said it helped her back,” Nance said. “She likes to work, she doesn’t like to sit down.”

Bonnie Fitzpatrick worked with Stover in the craft room for a decade. They both assembled quilts.

“We worked at Sybene, then down here at Ironton,” she said. “Myrtle is a wonderful quilter. She is an inspiration to all of us. She works all day long while she is here. You never saw her sitting down.”

Fitzpatrick said that Stover was one of the smartest people she ever met.

“She remembers everything she ever read,” she said. “She remembers everyone she meets, their birthdays, everything.”

Fitzpatrick remembers asking Stover if she remembered everything she read.

“She loves church and she can out-talk a preacher,” she said. “She goes to Bible study, she always has something to say.”

When they first met, Stover was reading a book for book discussion. Fitzpatrick asked her if she recalled every book she read.

“She said ‘Why, sure,’ it was like ‘doesn’t everybody,” Fitzpatrick said, with a laugh.

When asked how she had lived to the age of 99, Stover had a simple theory.

“Hard work,” she said and added it was also because of her friends at the center, The Grange, her church family and her neighbors. “I have worked hard. And I traveled some with my family.”

She said she doesn’t feel like she is 99 years old.

“I do not feel that old at all,” Stover said. As to how old she feels, she said she didn’t know. “I don’t remember what I was doing in my 80s.”
She said she was ready for the Reds to start playing again.

“I’m waiting for them to come up so I can at least hear them on the radio,” Stover said. “It’s been my entertainment for so long.”