Northwest NEWS

December 28, 1998

Features

Local centenarian celebrates 110th birthday

John Mauch by Deborah Stone

   John Mauch, a resident at Franciscan Care Center in Bothell, celebrated his 110th birthday on Christmas Eve. He was born on December 24th, 1888, and has been a resident at the Care Center for the past five years.

   Mauch was born in Germany and came to the United States as a child. He grew up in a household of fifteen children, completed grammar school, and then went into farming.

   During World War I, he served in the United States Infantry and also worked in an army hospital. After the war, Mauch returned to his family's farm in the Yakima Valley, where he grew potatoes, alfalfa, corn, and a variety of other crops.

   He has no children and none of his siblings are still living, but he has several loving nieces in the Seattle area, including Frances Matthews, Cecelia Hauck, and Alice Pister of Des Moines, and Mary Bovee of Bothell. Frances' fondest memories of her uncle are when he used to babysit her and her sisters at their farm in the Yakima Valley which were practically adjacent. John was a frequent visitor.

   "John was a great babysitter," comments Frances. "He loved nature and would teach us about the habits of the wild animals and birds that existed in the area. I also remember how he loved to play pinochle in the evenings. He was always so kind and gentle. He still is such a considerate and thoughtful man and always so polite. You don't see people like him anymore."

   Mary Bovee echoes her sister's comments and says, "John is such a good-natured man with a great sense of humor. When we were young children, he would entertain us by making shadow pictures on the walls and then he would whittle wood into various things, making us guess what he was creating."

   Mauch retired from farming when he turned eighty-three and went to live with his niece Frances for a number of years. He has come through several hip replacement surgeries, the last one two years ago, despite all odds of recovery. Although he is quite hard of hearing and has poor vision, the staff at Franciscan Care Center say he is up in the dining room for all of his meals and he is able to carry on a conversation.

   "John is doing incredibly well and is very much at peace in his life. Doctors say he has a very strong heart and his attitude is always positive. He knows it's his birthday, but teases everyone about his age," says Jill Workman, Community Liaison at the Center.

   The Center held a celebration to recognize its residents with December birthdays and John was a special guest. "It's not every day that one of our residents turns 110," said Workman. "It is truly a wonderful, memorable occasion and one that deserves attention."