Happy 111th! Mim Moore is 24th oldest person in the U.S.

By on January 24, 2018

A card shower for Luther Acres supercentenarian Mim Moore has yielded more than 300 greetings from folks around the country. More are expected as her Jan. 28 birthday approaches.

In 1907, Milton Hershey opened a park, Theodore Roosevelt was president, and the first organized march for women’s suffrage took place in London.

On Jan. 28 of that year, Miriam Teufel was born in Columbia, the fifth of six children of Mathias and Ellen Teufel.

Hersheypark has grown and continues to be a world class amusement park; Roosevelt is considered to have been one of the country’s greatest leaders; women not only vote, but many are elected officials, and Miriam “Mim” Teufel Moore is celebrating her 111th birthday.

A resident of Luther Acres Healthcare Center in Lititz, Mim Moore will turn 111 on Jan. 28, a rare feat that she is taking in stride.

“I can’t believe it; I’m so blessed,” Mim said.

Her remarkable longevity, according to Wikipedia, the information website, makes Mim the 24th oldest person in the United States, and the 84th oldest person in the world.

These mind-boggling statistics don’t faze Mim at all.

“Historically, she hasn’t wanted a fuss made over her when it’s her birthday,” said Mary Schreiber, therapeutic recreation manager at Luther Acres. “So each year, we ponder ‘how do we celebrate this woman, who doesn’t want any fuss?’”

That question was answered this year by asking folks to join in a card shower for Mim.

Wish Mim Moore a happy 111th birthday by sending a card to
her at Luther Acres, 600 E. Main St., Lititz, PA 17543.

So far, she has received more than 300 cards, from more than 30 states and Canada.

“We thought it would be a fun idea,” Schreiber said. “We had no idea what to expect, but the cards have made a big impact on her. It’s great to see her response to it, because when she opens a card to read it, her face lights up.”

The cards are displayed at the entrance to the healthcare center, and so far, an entire wall of birthday cards have been created. More are expected as her big day draws near.

Mim is in relatively good health for her age; her eyesight is good and she enjoys reading, although her hearing is somewhat impaired.

She takes the time to read each card she receives, said Amy Kenn, communications director for Luthercare.

“She reads a lot,” Kenn said. “She’s very outgoing and friendly and she laughs a lot.”

Although wheelchair-bound, Mim goes to activities every day at Luther Acres.

“She very much enjoys our socials,” Schreiber said. “It would be a rare day that she wouldn’t be going to an activity.”

The supercentenarian has been a resident at Luther Acres for the past five years. Before that, she lived in another Luthercare facility, St. John’s Herr Estate in Columbia.

Mim enjoys attending music programs, participating in art classes, and playing bingo. She participates in exercise class as much as she can, too.

“Her truly favorite thing to do is play UNO (a card game),” Schreiber said. “Every day she asks when we’re going to be playing cards.”

Another favorite pastime of Mim’s is watching TV, and she keeps her set tuned into the Food Network.

Everybody at Luther Acres knows that Mim has a favorite sweet indulgence.

“Chocolate is her favorite food; she always has a snack basket next to her filled with crackers and candy,” Schreiber said.

Having had dogs as pets while growing up, including a favorite, Trixie, Mim is always happy to see Rosie, a golden doodle, and the resident dog at Luther Acres.

“Rosie brings so much joy to the residents, and if Mim doesn’t see her, she’ll ask ‘where’s the dog?’” Schreiber said. “She loves Rosie.”

Mim is known for consistent good spirits, unflagging cheerfulness, and a ready smile, Kenn said.

When asked her secret to a long life, she said, “Just enjoy yourself!”

“The Lord has been good to me; He gave me good health, family, friends, and food — what more do you need?” Mim asked.

Mim’s upbeat spirit is contagious, and other people seem drawn to her, Schreiber said.

“People really like her,” Schreiber said. “She has many friendships and she’s well-known among the residents.”

Scout troops and school students come to visit the facility occasionally, and many of the young people look for her, Schreiber said.

She likes to tell the youngsters stories about growing up in Columbia.

Mim has lived through more wars than one would want to count, and she has seen tremendous changes in the world throughout her lifetime.

Her conversation usually focuses on her family, but when asked about the historic times she’s seen, it was women getting the vote that she recalled most clearly.

Mim used to volunteer to help with voter registration and worked at the polls, Schreiber said. She has also had the opportunity to vote in 28 presidential elections.

Mim says her childhood was a happy one, and she remembers swimming in the summer and sledding in winter.

But there was great grief early in her life, too, as both her parents died young; her mother, of tuberculosis. An older sister, Ella, raised both Mim and her brother. At one point, the children were sent to live with an aunt.

As a young woman, Mim found work as a weaver, making fabric at the former Schwartzenbach-Huber Silk Mill.

A lifelong member of St. John’s Evangelical Lutheran Church in Columbia, she was a Sunday school teacher to teens, a time she remembers affectionately.

Her church and her faith have always been an important part of her life, she has said. Every month at the resident council of Luther Acres, Mim will start off the meetings with a prayer.

The Rev. Beth Costlow has known Mim for the past five years, since she’s been pastor of St. John’s.

“She embodies joy,” Costlow said. “I’ve never heard her complain about anything — ever.”

Mim has gone through some tough times, such as the loss of her parents while still a child, and now, she’s outlived many friends and relatives, Costlow said.

“She lives in a world where everybody is younger,” Costlow said, adding that Mim’s outlook is still bright.

Her hearing has deteriorated so that Costlow writes down comments and questions for Mim to answer when she visits. Despite that inconvenience, Mim remains pleasant, always greeting Costlow’s visits with a smile.

Costlow believes the answer to Mim’s joy-filled attitude is the fact that she has lived through so much, and has overcome it all.

“She has lived long enough to know, somewhere deep down, in a way we can’t yet know, that in laughter and in sorrow, Jesus is really there,” Costlow said. “She has the gift of faith…and I believe she feels, He has helped her through other dark times, so she can trust that He’s here for this time.”

“She believes that, no matter what happens, God does not abandon you,” Costlow added.

As a young girl, Mim loved to dance and went to dances held at the Columbia Moose Lodge and at her church.

At one of those dances, she met J. Edwin Moore, an iron worker. They married and had one son, J. Edwin Jr. Her husband died in 1984.

While Mim’s son lives out of state, she has grandchildren and great-grandchildren, with a few living close enough to visit.

A party with family and members of her church will be held this coming Saturday, complete with a big cake. On the days surrounding her birthday, Luther Acres will be hosting special surprises, like root beer floats for everybody.

A friend from Manheim has requested radio station WDAC to play “How Great Thou Art” for Mim this coming Saturday, between 8:08 and 8:55 p.m., so she can hear one of her favorite hymns played just for her.

Music remains a constant joy for Mim.

“She likes to sing, and sometimes you’ll walk by her room and hear her singing,” Schreiber said.

She especially likes songs that have a special meaning for her, songs from her youth, like “Bicycle Built for Two,” and around Christmas, “Jingle Bells.”

She’ll also sing favorite hymns.

“She has a strong voice when she sings those songs,” Schreiber said. “She really is a neat lady.”

The best way to celebrate Mim’s 111th birthday, Schreiber said, is to let her know how many people care.

The card shower, which started with a Luthercare Facebook post, has already generated hundreds of cards from well-wishers, and more are pouring in every day.

A Facebook group, “From The Heart,” picked up the project and helped to spread the card shower around the country.

“The messages people are writing to her are so gracious and so kind, and coming from strangers, she’s really been touched by it,” Schreiber said. “The cards are really appreciated.”

Some of the cards are handmade, she added.

Mim loves the cards with scenes of nature, saying “how beautiful,” when she reads them, Schreiber said. She also likes the cards with animals, and will say they are “cute,” and even laugh at some of the pictures.

“She feels humbled by the cards,” Schreiber said. “She’s had a few emotional moments and says she’s thankful to have people remember her.”

Cards may be sent to Mim Moore at Luther Acres, 600 E. Main St., Lititz, PA 17543.

Marylouise Sholly is a freelance feature writer for the Lititz Record-Express. She welcomes comments and questions at weezsholly@verizon.net.

About digital editor

One Comment

  1. Vicky Hankins

    January 27, 2018 at 12:01 pm

    Thank you so much for mentioning “From the Heart” facebook page. We are amazed at Mim and wish her a very Happy Birthday!

    https://www.facebook.com/From-the-Heart-599391670189054/

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *