Life well lived: Carmel woman looks back on 100 years of life

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By Renee Larr

Playing bridge, socializing and attending church functions are all run-of-the-mill activities for residents of Carmel’s Sunrise on Old Meridian Assisted Living Facility. Marion O’Haver isn’t their normal resident.

She will be the first resident in their six-year history to turn 100 while living in the facility. Her milestone birthday is Sept. 8. O’Haver doesn’t seem to be too concerned regarding her big day. Her children, in conjunction with SOOM, will host a birthday extravaganza in her honor on Sept. 12.

“They seem to think it’s special,” she said of her children.

O’Haver attended Indiana University where she studied art and received a degree in fine arts and French with a minor in mathematics. After completing her degree she began teaching art at Angola Public Schools where she worked for three years.

“In my art class every person would be looking at the same object, but they would all draw it differently. I thought that was so interesting,” said O’Haver.

She met Tom O’Haver who also attended IU during the same time period. They were married in 1940. Tom’s military career dictated where the couple lived. They moved to Williamsburg, Va. but when O’Haver’s career with the military was over they moved back to Indianapolis with Tom working in heating and cooling and Marion teaching art and mathematics.

“I never did teach French and I’m glad now because I don’t know it very well. Since you don’t use it much you lose it,” said O’Haver.

The couple went on to raise four children – Tommy O’Haver, Susan Young, David O’Haver and Nancy Borsay.

Tom retired in 1982 and the couple then moved to Berkshire Village in Carmel. They eventually had 10 grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren.

The couple was married for 52 years before Tom died in 1992. O’Haver spent the next seven years as a single woman. She re-married in 2005 at the age of 89 to Myron Green who was 90 and an old friend of both O’Haver and her first husband. Green was a dentist and died in 2010 after five years of marriage.

O’Haver moved into SOOM in May and has been adjusting to her life there. She loves to play bridge with the other residents and even ran into an old friend while playing one afternoon.

“The first time Mrs. O’Haver sat down to play bridge, she realized she had a friend who lived in the same building and they didn’t realize they were both living here,” said Tori Mayer, activities and volunteer coordinator.

She’s also active within her church and is even part of a 90 and older club at Second Presbyterian Church. The group is led by Rev. Joyce Hunn and goes to lunch together every few months.

She used to be a singer in her church but as she’s gotten older, she hasn’t been able to sing as much due to trouble with her voice. At the age of 99 most people have had surgeries, health issues or complications. O’Haver has never had a surgery which is an accomplishment to her.

O’Haver had a passion for painting prior to Tom’s death in 1992. Most of her art was watercolor and nature scenes. She sold several pieces of her art at various exhibits with two now residing in Japan. While she doesn’t have a favorite piece, she does have one that receives quite a bit of attention due to her technique.

“This one has drawn a lot of interest and I was surprised by it. I didn’t use a brush on this. I used a straw and blew the paint out,” said O’Haver.

Although she hasn’t painted for some time, she wants to get back to creating art.

“All of the sudden I got an inspiration yesterday,” said O’Haver.

When asked what was the key to her longevity, O’Haver answered honestly.

“I don’t know, but I can’t even believe I’m this old,” she said.

All four of O’Haver’s children live in different cities, so she’s looking forward to seeing them all together at her birthday party in September.

 

About Marion O’Haver

Favorite activity: Playing Bridge

Least favorite activity: Bingo

Interesting fact: Married her second husband at age 89

Married: 52 Years to Tom O’Haver, five years to Myron Green

Children: Tom O’Haver, Susan Young, David O’Haver, Nancy Borsay

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