AUBURN — Looking back on more than a century of life, Mildred Bard recalled, “I did everything. I took care of older people. I cooked for threshers.”
Surrounded by family members, Bard celebrated her 101st birthday Tuesday at Auburn Village.
Raised in rural Butler as Mildred Snyder, she took the skills she learned on the farm to spend life as a farm wife in Fairfield Township of northwestern DeKalb County.
She also worked as a longtime employee of Albright’s Grocery Store in Corunna.
She sold beauty products as an Avon lady. “That’s why she’s so pretty,” said her daughter, Marty HIssong.
She taught Bible school and Sunday school at Maple Grove church near Butler and led Child Evangelism Fellowship meetings when she lived in Fairfield Township. She was active in home economics and gardening.
After selling their farm, she and her husband of 53 years, Spencer, retired at Dallas Lake near Wolcottville. She continued to serve as a volunteer for DeKalb Memorial Hospital and the Curiosity Shop that supported the hospital until the age of 90.
She has lived at Auburn Village for the past four years. There, she enjoys watching birds at a feeder outside her window and has developed a reputation for her love of Chinese food and desserts.
“Don’t anybody get into my cake,” she warned at Tuesday’s celebration.
Her children, all daughters, include Necia Myers of rural Waterloo, Marty Hissong and Robyn Eddy, both of Auburn, and the late Alyce Rhodes. She also has 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren and several great-great-grandchildren.
Bard credited her longevity to “no smoking, no drinking, lots of hard work and the Lord.” She quickly revised that to say the Lord should come first.
Her potential to reach an even more advanced age can be seen in her sister, Vera Haines of Auburn, who lived to the age of 104.
“I never thought I’d live to be 101,” she said, “but I am!”