Mineolan celebrates a century of life


It was a century ago, and the year was 1919.

The 1919 Chicago White Sox were immortalized as the infamous “Black Sox” after throwing the baseball World Series to the Cincinnati Reds. President Woodrow Wilson was incapacitated by a stroke during the final year of his presidency. The Treaty of Versailles, which officially ended World War I, was ratified by every combatant nation except the United States. And in Bowling Green, Ohio, a baby girl was born.

Those first three events have been consigned to the annals of history. That baby, however, remains with us today, and she celebrated her 100th birthday Sunday at the First United Methodist Church Ministries Center in Mineola. Close to 100 friends and family, including five generations, filled the fellowship hall in honor of matriarch Arlene Lobdell on her special day.

Arlene was born June 2, 1919. She was 10 years old with the advent of the Great Depression in 1929, and, she said, she still remembers that era. She also remembers the boys going off to serve during World War II.

She married Vern Lobdell, who she met at a Civilian Conservation Corps camp in Wood County, Ohio. Her fondest memories, she said, involve raising their four children – all of whom are alive today – and traveling with her husband, who died in 1999.

The Lobdells moved to Mineola in 1980, according to Arlene.

As for the key to her longevity, she said she just lives “day to day” and has never been seriously ill. Her only experience with real sickness was with the common childhood diseases.

Today she fills her time reading. Asked what she enjoys reading the most, Arlene replied, “I read anything that’s in print.”

She also noted the role of Wood County in her life.

“I was born and married in Wood County, Ohio, and I’ll die in Wood County, Texas,” she said with a smile.