Wil­low Grove res­i­dent still go­ing strong at 104

Public Spirit - - FRONT PAGE - By Caitlin Burns

cburns@jour­nal­reg­is­ter.com In 104 years Reba Fic­thorn has seen a lot of change. She was al­most 4 when the Ti­tanic sunk. She was a teenager dur­ing the Great De­pres­sion. As a young woman she dealt with the start of World War II. Many things have changed in 104 years and Fic­thorn has been around for all of them. For a woman who has seen more than a cen­tury, the res­i­dents of Wil­low Lake Re­tire­ment Community cel­e­brated her life Sept. 18.

Born in 1908, Fic­thorn grew up on a self-sus­tain­ing farm in Elver­son, Pa., with 11 broth­ers and sis­ters. Later she mar­ried Wil­lard Fic­thorn and lived in Jenk­in­town for more than 40 years. They had one daugh­ter, Judie Steb­ner, and have four grand­chil­dren. Af­ter the death of her hus­band Fic­thorn moved to Langhorne to live with her daugh­ter and then four years ago moved to Wil­low Lake.

“She’s so loved,” res­i­dent pro­gram di­rec­tor Jamie Bar­ron said. “She’s very spry for 104.”

To cel­e­brate Fic­thorn’s birthday, which was Sept. 14, her friends and fam­ily gath­ered to sing happy birthday and eat cake. Wil­low Lake staff hired a per­former to sing mu­sic and lead res­i­dents in dances.

“I’m liv­ing a good life and en­joy­ing it,” Fic­thorn said. “I think i t ’s the great­est thing that ever hap­pened to me.”

Fic­thorn said she en­joys liv­ing at Wil­low Lake and tries to par­tic­i­pate in many ac­tiv­i­ties that are of­fered to res­i­dents. Ac­cord­ing to Bar­ron, she par­tic­i­pates in the se­nior games ev­ery July and in the morn­ing ex­er­cise classes. But Fic­thorn has al­ways been ac- tive. Throughout her life, she was pres­i­dent of the Fed­er­a­tion of Women’s Clubs, worked as a sec­re­tary at Wright, Tyn­dale and Van Ro­den mer­can­tile com­pany and trav­eled Penn­syl­va­nia with her hus­band to sing at lo­cal churches.

“I think it’s mar­velous they put this all to­gether. It’s a great place for her to be,” Steb­ner said. “A lot of nice peo­ple were there to honor [her].”

Ac­tiv­i­ties Di­rec­tor Jaime Bar­ron presents 104-year-old Reba Fichthorn with a cake for her birthday at Wil­low Lake Re­tire­ment Res­i­dence, Wil­low Grove.

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