Springfield woman turns 100; showered with cards and roses

Credit: Submitted Photo

Credit: Submitted Photo

A Springfield woman celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday with a card shower and roses.

Rita Waldron, a resident at Springfield Assisted Living, wore a birthday crown and sash at the facility, despite not being able to have a birthday party due to the coronavirus pandemic.

She received over 100 birthday cards from local residents and 100 yellow roses donated by Jackson Lytle & Lewis Life Celebration Center.

“Unfortunately, we were not able to have a true party to celebrate her, but these gorgeous roses were delivered and we could not pass up at least getting a photo and helping her Facetime her family,” Ceaira Ferryman, office coordinator at Springfield Assisted Living said.

Carol Burke, Waldron’s daughter, described Waldron as “always happy.”

She said that her mother grew up in Urbana, but moved to Springfield when she married her late husband, Willis, after he returned home from World War II. They were married for 48 years.

Growing up in Urbana, Waldron “always considered herself born on the wrong side of the track,” Burke said.

She explained that her mother walked two miles each way and went to school.

“Occasionally she took a short cut through an alley where the boys would throw dead rats at her,” Burke said.

Waldron had three siblings, who have all passed away, Burke said.

During the war, Waldron worked at a canning factory. She also worked at her uncle’s greenhouse, Burke said. Waldron loves gardening and arranging flowers.

Waldron did not work after she got married and had children.

Burke said her mother always remembers the depression and treated her budget as frugal.

“We never were wealthy but always had everything we needed,” Burke said. “There was always a house filled with love.”

Waldron attended St. Mary’s Catholic Church for several years and then transferred to St. Bernard Catholic Church. She was active in choir - practicing once a week and performing during Sunday services, Burke said. Waldron recently retired from the choir.

“That’s where most of her close friends came from,” Burke said.

She added that her mother volunteered at the thrift center at St. Mary’s.

Waldron has three children, nine grandchildren and many great-grandchildren.

Burke said their family recently visited Waldron outside the facility, but because of the pandemic visits are currently restricted.

About the Author