By Colin Foster
TROY — Church, cookies and cards … they’re the three ‘Cs’ that Mabel Earhart Cain believes are essential to living a long, healthy life.
On Feb. 17, 1914 — the same year Mary Jane Hayner built a Romanesque mansion in downtown Troy — Mabel was born … So it’s only fitting that her family and friends planned to throw her a birthday bash at the Troy-Hayner Cultural Center on Sunday.
“I just keep going, and the good Lord’s been good to me,” Mabel said. “I try to eat right and live right. I just think the good Lord’s taken care of me.”
“(She has) a positive attitude. It doesn’t matter what obstacles are thrown her way — she always stays positive,” said Jody (Cain) Frantz, Mabel’s only child, when asked the secret to her longevity. “She enjoys people and stays active; she still rides her stationary bike 3 to 4 miles a day.”
Mabel was born in 1914 just east of Troy off of State Route 202. She grew up with three brothers (Ray, Robert and Harold) and one sister (Lena). She graduated from Troy High School during the Great Depression in 1932. After high school, Mabel went on to find work as a book keeper at Troy Grain and Supply in 1936, before a battle with Multiple Sclerosis forced her away from the job six years later.
“I couldn’t even hold a pen,” she said.
Roughly four years after MS took her away from her job, Mabel’s neighbor talked her into going to a hospital in Detroit to have her MS checked out. On that day, Mabel and her husband Ward Cain, who she married in 1938, found out that not only was the MS gone, but they were to have a baby.
“They couldn’t find anymore signs of Multiple Sclerosis, but they found that I was pregnant,” she explained.
The Cain’s welcomed Jody into the world in 1948. Jody went on to graduate from Troy High School.
In 1957, the Cain’s, who raised horses on their 10 acres of land, started the first 4-H horse club in Miami County — the Trojan Horse 4-H Club. The couple served as advisers at the club for 10 years. When Jody began going to school, the Cain’s welcomed her kindergarten class from Concord Elementary out for pony rides — a tradition that continued for 13 years after that.
“He’d take them for rides on the pony’s and I’d serve them cookies,” Mabel recalled.
Mabel has two grandchildren and one great-grandson. She still attends Nashville United Church of Christ that she joined when she was 12 years old. She still works with a women’s group at her church making peanut brittle — something she has helped with for more than 40 years. Mabel is a member of two card groups that play regularly — and she continues baking cookies of all types, but her favorite is chocolate chip.
At 100 years old, Mabel is still very able — something that has amazed the people around her.
“She broke her hip at the end of July, and it’s just amazing she has came back from that and is just about as mobile as she was when it happened,” Jody said.
Colin Foster may be reached at 937-440-5208 or followed on Twitter @colinfosterbg or @Troydailynews