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Senior Lifestyles

Elizabeth Sampson enjoying life at 100

11/1/2012 - West Side Leader
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By Kathleen Folkerth

Copley Place resident Elizabeth Sampson celebrated her 100th birthday Oct. 23 at a party there with guests including Copley Township Fire Chief Michael Benson, at left, and Assistant Fire Chief Keith Moore.
Photo courtesy of Copley Place
COPLEY — Elizabeth Sampson’s birthday was so big this year she had two parties to celebrate.

The Copley Place resident turned 100 Oct. 23 and was feted at two separate events that each attracted more than 100 people. In addition, the former West Akron resident was honored by the city of Akron and Copley Township with proclamations.

“It was overwhelming, but it was worth it,” she said.

Sampson was first honored at a party at her church, St. John’s C.M.E. in West Akron, that brought more than 100 family members and friends to celebrate with her Oct. 20. Then, on her birthday, Copley Place held a party in her honor that drew more than 100 friends and residents and even the township’s safety forces.

“She has a lot of friends here and everybody loves her,” said Susan Darula, Copley Place’s enrichment coordinator.

Sampson was born in Mississippi and moved to Alabama when she was 11. Her father was a dairy farmer who also sold produce.

One of her early childhood memories is when her father was called to serve in World War I. He did not have to go fight, however, once the authorities found out how much local grocers needed his produce.

“That was the first time I saw my mother cry, when she thought he would have to go,” Sampson said.

She also recalled enjoying getting new shoes for every Christmas and Easter as a child.

She attended school through high school and married Charlie Sampson when she was 24. He was in the U.S. Navy, and the couple lived in San Diego for a while before returning to the South.

In 1943, Charlie headed to Akron to work for B.F. Goodrich, and she followed the next year.

The two did not have any children, and Elizabeth worked as an elevator operator at Akron City Hospital for 13 years.

“That was when they were manual,” she said.

Eventually her husband wanted her to stop working, she added. When he retired, the two enjoyed traveling around the country, as well as to Tijuana, Mexico, and Niagara Falls.

“We had relatives all over the U.S.,” she said.

Sampson said her favorite trip was to Hawaii.

Sampson lived in Cuyahoga Falls until her husband died when he was 81. She then moved to West Akron. Nearly three years ago she moved to Copley Place.

“I like just about everything,” she said of the activities there. Darula said she participates in morning devotions and an exercise class.

Darula noted that Sampson is the oldest resident of the senior living community and is the first to turn 100 since the community opened.

Sampson said her father died in his 60s and her mother lived to be almost 72. Her three sisters, all younger than her, have all passed on.

She said she doesn’t do anything in particular that has helped her make it to the century mark.

“It’s just the Lord’s way,” she said. “He wasn’t ready for me.”

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