Medina’s Bernice Sheldon celebrated on her 100th birthday

By Ginny Kropf, correspondent Posted 12 September 2022 at 10:07 am

Photos by Ginny Kropf: Four generations of Bernice Sheldon’s family gathered for her 100th birthday celebration Sunday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Medina. Sheldon was born Sept. 10, 1922 in Medina. Standing from left are great-granddaughter Tessa Poewers, 8, and granddaughter Heather Powers of Connecticut; and daughter Sally Grimm of Medina.

MEDINA – In all of her years growing up in Medina and raising a family, Bernice Sheldon never thought she’d live to be 100.

Sheldon turned 100 on Sept. 10 and was honored at a reception for family and friends on Sunday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Medina.

Sheldon grew up on Commercial Street in Medina, a daughter of Polish immigrants. Nieces and nephews still live in the family home. She recalls the family only spoke Polish and she was forced to learn English when she started school. She attended Sacred Heart School and Sacred Heart Church until it closed, then went to Trinity.

Sheldon has a ton of memories – of World War II, the family’s first automobile, their television and riding the lift bridge up and down when boats went though.

Her husband Franklin served in World War II on Omaha Beach and was taken prisoner of war in Germany. He was eventually freed by the Russians. Franklin died 25 years ago on Bernice’s 75th birthday.

(Left) Bernice Sheldon and her daughter Sally Grimm pose in front of Sheldon’s 100th birthday cake during a reception Sunday at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church. (Right) Bernice Sheldon gets a hug from Jeanne Upton on the occasion of her 100th birthday celebration at St. Peter’s Lutheran Church in Medina.

Growing up, Bernice remembers listening to the radio until they got a television. They got their first car when her mother learned to drive.

“But I really liked our first refrigerator,” Bernice said.

Until then, the family had an “ice box.”

Another memory is of the trolley and the tracks which went down Commercial Street in front of their house.

Bernice was a stay-at-home mom to their two daughters, Sally and Sue. After they were out of school, she went to work, first at Harrison Radiator, then the school cafeteria and finally, Fisher-Price.

Bernice’s 100th birthday celebration was planned by her family, including daughters Sally Grimm of Medina and Sue Finn of Fairport. Guests included grandchildren, great-grandchildren, family and friends, who came from Connecticut and all across Western New York.

Bernice said she was surprised to reach 100, and doesn’t know what she might have done to contribute to her longevity.

“I always kept moving and drank lots of milk,” she said.

Today she passes the time watching television and playing solitaire.