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Centenarian grateful for years with family

Staff writer

Dressed in a bright yellow outfit with matching necklace and earrings, Georgia Spohn appeared as bright and shining as the sun streaming through her window at Marion Assisted Living. She was all smiles and seemed happy to be alive.

“I feel like a kid yet,” she said, smiling jokingly. “I’m only 99.”

Spohn will turn 100 Friday. She has congratulatory letters from Senator Jerry Moran and Governor Laura Kelly to prove it.

“It’s been a great 100 years,” she said. “I’ve had many surgeries, but I keep on going.”

Spohn lived on the family farm southeast of Tampa for almost 80 years.

She has been using a walker since she broke her hip and fell six years ago. After she fractured her pelvis in March, she knew she couldn’t do some things for herself anymore. She has been at Marion Assisted Living since then.

Habits formed during many years as a farmer’s wife stay with her. She rises every morning at 4 a.m. and turns on the television.

“I put earrings on first thing,” she said.

After dressing, she makes her breakfast and eats at 5 a.m. She takes her other meals in the dining room and retires at 9:30 p.m.

Despite having glaucoma, which she said Dr. Don Hodson keeps under control, she loves to read. Her mother took her to the library while she was growing up, and she read seven books every week.

“I read everything I can lay my hands on,” she said.

She also does word searches.

She has been reading the Marion County Record her whole life and is still a subscriber. It was a staple in her parents’ home and in hers.

Her parents were farmers at Durham. She was born at her grandparents’ home in Marion on the site of present-day Marion Senior Center.

The family moved several times, and she spent most of her early years at Oursler, an old train stop community between Marion and Florence. She graduated from Florence High School in 1936 at age 16.

Spohn’s mother was a teacher. Like her mother, she had no desire to get involved in farming. She wanted to go to beauty school after graduation but was too young, so she spent a year at Tabor College before getting her beautician’s training in Wichita.

She operated a beauty shop on the second floor of a building on the southeast corner of Third and Main Sts. She said she wore spiked heels every day.

She gladly became a farmer’s wife in August 1940, when she married Ed Spohn.

“I decided I’d do everything on the farm,” she said, “but I especially loved the cattle.”

She lost Ed 30 years ago. She continued feeding cattle on the operation, that was later recognized as a Century Farm by the Farm Bureau, until she turned 75.

“I loved my husband,” she said, “and I loved Scooter.”

A picture of the dog sits on a shelf in her room. He was more than 17 years old when he died.

After Ed died, her son and only child, Gary and his wife, Carole, moved into the farmhouse, and she moved into a mobile home next door.

“They’ve looked after me ever since,” she said. “Gary comes every week to visit and get groceries for me. I have a wonderful daughter-in-law, too.”

Being from Tampa, Spohn delights in telling people that she had a sister who married Ed’s brother and lived in “the other Tampa” in Florida.

Spohn’s siblings are gone, but she has several half-siblings from her father’s second marriage.

Son Gary has two married sons, Ryan and Steven, and three grandchildren.

“My family is great!” she said.

Spohn credits her family for her long life.

“I think it’s the wonderful people that are around me,” she said. “I had a wonderful childhood, wonderful husband, and wonderful son, and this is a wonderful place to be when you can’t do everything for yourself anymore.”

Last modified Sept. 18, 2019

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