South Bend, Indiana
March 13, 2007
Many Thanks to Ida Chipman for graciously allowing us to reproduce this article.

Why stop at 100?
For Hazel Skinner, long life runs in the family

Tribune Correspondent

TYNER -- Hazel Skinner knows there's plenty of life after 100. Her uncle, George Stout, lived to be 106 and his daughter made it to 110.

"All genetics, you know," Hazel said.

Still, her family proudly will help her celebrate birthday No. 100 next month.

On April 11, a dozen or so ladies will have a noon meal for her at the Tyner United Methodist Church.

Then on April 14, a family dinner will be held at the Odd Fellows Lodge, with Nelson's Golden Glow chicken as the main course. After the meal, there will be an open house from 2 to 4 p.m.

Some 50 family members will be there. She has two surviving sons, 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

You wouldn't know, from looking at her, that she's 99 years old. Her hearing and eyesight are great.

She takes no medication at all.

"I used to take vitamins," she said, "but I kept forgetting about 'em and they didn't seem to make any difference anyhow."

She reads anything she can get her fingers on and enjoys watching TV.

Daughter-in-law Joyce Sarber said folks don't even try to talk to her from 3 to 4 p.m. That's when "Dr. Phil" is on!

Hazel has lived in Marshall County all of her life.

Born in her Grandma Rhoads' farmhouse just off of U.S. 30, Hazel attended eight different schools, graduating from Tyner High School in 1925.

"I was almost in the Teegarden class," she said.

"I went there for two years, but somebody burnt down the building my senior year."

She didn't participate in extracurricular activities. There weren't many anyhow.

"I wanted to play the piano," she said. "My dad was a fiddler, but he said I had no musical talent, so that was that."

She met her first husband --there were eventually three -- at a Teegarden box lunch.

"The girls would fix lunch in a box and the boys would pick one," she explained.

The idea was to sit in your car, share the food and get to know one another.

Hazel's was full of candy. No lunch. Just candy.

Hazel figured that whoever chose the candy would enjoy it just as much.

Cyril Sarber, 21, picked hers.

He thought it -- and Hazel -- were "pretty sweet." The couple were married a year later.

"We stood in front of the big window in my folks' house. My mom sewed my wedding dress and cooked our wedding dinner.

"We had chicken and a special cake."

No honeymoon.

Cyril had a good job driving a truck. He made a down payment on the house in Tyner where he had been born, and they lived there for several years.

They had four sons: Cyril, Dean, Dwight and Lew. Hazel was a stay-at-home mom until the boys were older. She later cooked at Tyner High School and worked in Price's abattoir.

Cy died in 1955. He was 51 years old. They had been married 29 years.

Two years later, the young widow married widower Howard Machlan, a retired foreman at McCord's, at the Wesleyan Church in Plymouth.

"We'd known each other all our lives," she said.

They lived in Argos until Howard's death three years later.

Hazel came back home to Tyner and moved in with her mother for four years.

"Mother needed someone to stay with her -- and I needed a home," she said.

She has lived the last 43 years in a remodeled train depot on the main street of town.

Hazel's third husband was a retired minister, Arthur V. Skinner. A widower, he and Hazel had a brief courtship and were married in the Wesleyan Church in 1973.

Married 12 years -- "It didn't seem that long," she reminisced -- Arthur died in 1985.

Hazel isn't in the market for No. Four.

"No more men," she said. "I've outlived them all and besides, my, oh, my. After all, I'm 99!"

She blushed.

This photo from 1913 shows 6-year-old Hazel Stout (Skinner) with her 3-year-old sister, Edna, and her grandmother, Rosetta Watkins Rhoads, 73.

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