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E-Town’s Newest Centenarian Got Her First Job in 1980s

Elizabethtown gained a centenarian recently when Evelyn McCloskey celebrated her 100th birthday. Her birthday was Monday, Oct. 15. She celebrated with friends at the Elizabethtown Senior Center as well as privately with family.

McCloskey said that being 100 isn’t different from 99.

“I felt the same as the day before,” she said.

Born in 1918, McCloskey is from South Philadelphia and the sixth of 10 children. Her father, William McIlhenny, worked in government and her mother, Marion McIlhenny, was a housewife, caring for her three brothers and six sisters.

She married Bill McCloskey at age 17. It wasn’t unusual to get married so young, she said, “because back then they were glad to get rid of you, with so many other kids. Itwas one less mouth to feed.” McCloskey said she met her husband because he “lived right across the street. I sat on the

porch and watched him.” They were married for 52 years, until his death in 1980.

They had two children, William McCloskey and Lois Feather. Her son worked for the Bell Telephone Co. before he died. Her daughter is a schoolteacher in the Octorara school district. She has six grandchildren and some great-grandchildren, though she isn’t sure how many.

McCloskey spent most of her life as a housewife, and only began work after her husband passed away in his 70s, when she began work at a hospital. McCloskey said that even though it was her first job “they didn’t want to see me go when I retired.”

McCloskey says that in her life she has learned simply “to keep my mouth shut and to stay out of trouble,” though she admitted that’s hard for her. McCloskey encourages people to “do your own thing, no matter what anyone else says,” though that can have consequences.

“I was saying what I thought and getting in trouble for it,” McCloskey said.

Nowadays, McCloskey lives with her granddaughter Deborah Fisher and two pet dogs, named Bear and Moose. She attends the Elizabethtown Senior Center where she enjoys playing the game Sparkle, doing word searches, and camping in the Pocono mountains with her granddaughter.

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