Myrtle Reidell was born on her family farm in Pittsburg, PA in 1916 to Thomas Bailey and Anna Carolyn Major. The family farm had an apple orchard, many grape vines, horses, cows, chickens, pigs, sheep, goats, cats, and a dog! One of Myrtle’s memories from the farm is when she was very young sitting near a fence, and the cows mistook her golden curly hair for hay. Before the cows could munch up all her beautiful hair, her mother ran across the yard to save her! Another fond memory for her is the times she and her family would go into town in their horse and buggy. One time, as a trick on their Dad, Myrtle and her brother took the family buggy apart, moved it to the hay loft, and reassembled it to hide it from him. Although Myrtle’s parents were very strict, she has many happy memories of living in the country, helping to take care of the farm, and especially learning to cook and sew with her Mom.
In 1929, Myrtle married Frances Raab. They had 4 lovely children—Don, Chuck, Jim, and Myrna. Chuck’s favorite memory of his mother is she would always find time to play ball with him and his siblings in the yard. By trade, Myrtle was a seamstress and worked in the local department store in the fabric department. Myrtle was taught to sew by her mother who would have Myrtle sew scrap pieces of material, leftover from making hers and her brothers clothing, together.
Myrtle’s family has a rich history within the military. Her uncle, Frank, was in World War One, and two of her children served in the military. Myrtle, herself, was the Commander of Disabled Veterans Auxiliary.
In 1973, Myrtle moved from Pennsylvania to Florida. While living in Florida, Myrtle and her friends would go on vacation and steamers (cruise ships) together. She’s been to several places, such as Alaska, Canada, and Hawaii. Although, Hawaii was one of her least favorites because it “wasn’t what she thought it would be.” In 2002, Myrtle moved to Tennessee to be closer to her son Chuck.
If you ask Myrtle what 102 years on Earth has taught her, she’ll tell you “To help people, love others, and treat people the way you want to be treated.” This life lesson shines through her every day. Myrtle is one of our most active and spunky residents! She loves taking advantage of all the activities Jefferson Park has to offer from dress-up theme days to game nights to outings to the movies! We feel lucky to get to experience this part of Myrtle’s life journey with her!