From Spanish Flu to Covid-19….Happy 104th Birthday, Maude Sheldon!

She survived the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and now she has lived through the Covid-19 pandemic of 2020-21.

Meet the indefatigable Maude Menta Gardner Sheldon, who celebrated her 104th birthday last week.

Maude is a resident at The Woods at French Creek and marked this milestone event last week with her family.

“It was wonderful! What a blessing it was to visit with her in person and to enjoy a celebration outside on a beautiful day,” said her grandson, The Rev. Dr. Brian Wilbert.

“It was so wonderful!” added her daughter Debbie Sheldon. “Mom has always been a real pusher and her goal in life was always to take care of people and she did that very well!”

Maude’s notable life began in England, where she was born and lived just around the corner from the Kings Cross train station used in the Harry Potter films for the Hogwart’s express train.

Coming to America at age 9, her father, Maurice, was an American who assisted in a London munitions factory during the early years of World War I, where he met her mother, Maud, who also worked there. They were married on Christmas Eve. Her father returned to America in 1921.

Maude and her family were finally able to come to the USA in 1926 aboard the RMS Majestic, a sister ship of the Titanic!

The family settled in Elyria where father had taken a job with Western Automatic. Maude was the first born of 10 siblings.

As a teen, Maude met the love of her life, Harold Sheldon. They eloped in 1936, borrowing a 1926 Ford Model A for a surreptitious drive to Rye, New York where they were wed by a Justice of the Peace. Maude informed the family via a telegram which read, simply, “Am Married. Stop. Don’t worry. Stop. Love Sis. Stop.”

Maude and Harold were married for 67 years. Harold made a career as an Elyria Police officer from 1943-1966 and was a Golden Gloves boxer on the side.

When he developed Parkinson’s Disease, Maude faithfully cared for him for 15 years until his death in 2003. The couple raised four children.

“She really lived up to her marital vow to live with him through sickness and health,” said her grandson. “He came down with Parkinson’s in 1988 and she took care of him until 2003.”

After Harold retired from the police force, Maude and Harold purchased a farmhouse on West Ridge Road in Elyria Township. Maude lived there until 2008.

Maude has remained proud of her English heritage and took that spirit to her places of employment: Auwerter’s Office Outfitters in Elyria, the Fannie Farmer Candy store at the Midway Mall in Elyria, and the Homestead Antique Store in Avon.

In the market for a new car when she took her first job, she treated herself to a 1967 Ford Mustang!

A retirement highlight was a return trip to England for the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012 with her daughter Linda and grandson, Fr. Brian Wilbert, where she was able to visit the house in which she was born!

Maude is proud to say that she survived the Spanish Flu epidemic of 1918 and now the coronavirus epidemic of 2020-21.

“It is at least in part because the folks at Woods at French Creek took the shutdown seriously. We had to visit with her through the window of her room from March 2020 until March 2021. But now she has had both vaccines. It was a beautiful day.”

Happy 104th, Maude Menta Gardner Sheldon!

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