GREENVILLE — The final week of June 1913 marked the 50th anniversary of the Battle of Gettysburg and a reunion gathering more than 50,000 veterans of the Civil War.
On June 25, 1913, on a farm nestled in Grattan Township, Marie Kitchen was born. She lost her mother at the age of 9 and took on the responsibility of caring for her siblings. Despite shouldering the care of her younger brothers and sisters, Marie still completed school.
Perhaps it was assuming a matronly role at an early age that made the transition to wife and mother a natural one for Marie. She married Hoyt Shotwell and they had two children, Duane and Clare Shotwell. They only shared a life together until Hoyt’s untimely death in 1937.
Marie later met and married Leonard Jury and together they had four children, Caroline (Jury) Zigler, Eugene “Gene” Jury, Charlene (Jury) Feehan and Karen (Jury) Pringle. The reality of living to the age of 100 is surviving not only spouses but children as well. In her 100 years, Marie had to bury both of her husbands and three of her children. Five years ago Mary Jensen joined the family as an adoptive daughter and her spunk keeps Marie on her toes.
Both now and when she was a younger woman, Marie’s work ethic and love of family is apparent. Raising six children and tending a garden and also working in farm fields wasn’t seen as an obligation but simply a way of life. She canned all the fruits and vegetables she raised and took care of horses.
“I was busy all of the time,” Jury said. “I did everything I could do.”
Even having such a busy life, raising six children and caring for horses, Marie also made time for fun in her life. She used to attend dances at the Grange Hall on Podunk Road, which now serves as the Oakfield Township Museum. She continues to enjoy playing cards, completing crossword puzzles and word find puzzles. Marie used to dip for smelt each spring in the Upper Peninsula but catching bluegill was her favorite.
Being a social butterfly is perhaps Marie’s greatest enjoyment in life. She attends church every Sunday at services provided at Metron of Greenville and has even had members of Calvary Baptist Church pick her up to allow her to attend at the church located west of Greenville. Every week she has her nails painted and every day dons some of the many sets of beaded necklaces she has amassed through the years. In 2011, she was voted prom queen at a dance that was held for the residents of Metron of Greenville.
Marie’s status as social butterfly includes the attention of some of the gentlemen residents of Metron as well. Her family, specifically Jensen, joked about the number of boyfriends Marie has vying for her attention, but she simply waved off the notion of being pursued romantically. Asked about the exact number of gentlemen wooing her, Marie was animated in her response.
“Oh goodness, I can’t tell you that,” she said while shaking her head and waving her hands.
To mark the occasion of becoming a centenarian, Marie had a party with family, friends, staff and residents on June 22. On her birthday on June 25, Greenville Mayor John Hoppough joined the celebration.
While speaking with Marie and her family, the connection with staff was apparent and reciprocated.