MEXICO — Since December, town officials believed 100-year-old Myrtle Milledge would be the next recipient of the town’s Boston Post Cane. On Tuesday, the Board of Selectmen made it official, but she narrowly edged another centenarian for the honor.

Milledge, who now resides in the Rumford Community Home, was born on Dec. 26, 1915. Gleason Street resident Josie Yarnish turned 100 on Jan. 23, 2016.

Selectmen and Town Manager John Madigan will find a date to present Milledge with flowers and a plaque with a simulated cane. The original cane and the names of the recipients are on a wall in the Town Office.

Myrtle, who has lived in Mexico her entire life, is the oldest of six daughters of John and Christine (Cyr) Knauer. A sister, Pauline Dawson, celebrated her 98th birthday, also on Dec. 26, 2015, at Rumford Community Home, but she passed away last month. Myrtle has two other sisters in their 90s — Geraldine Burns, who turned 96 in January, and Janet Hamann, who is 94.

At a birthday celebration in January at Rumford Community Home, Myrtle was asked if she had any secrets to reaching 100.

“I kept busy,” she said. “I had a home and a camp. I’m one who makes everything. I have a big garden, always made flowers. I’ve had a busy life and I’ve liked it like that.”

She said that when she gets up in the morning, she always has something to look forward to, such as her family, who like to visit.

But Myrtle did note that since she’s been at the nursing home, she doesn’t feel as useful.

“I’ve been kind of waiting: what to do, what to do,” she said. “If they would tell me what they wanted help with, I would help.”

She said she lost her youngest child, Frederick, in Vietnam in 1968, followed by her husband, Frederick, who died in 1970. It took her a while to get her life back together before she decided she wanted to be involved in helping people.

Myrtle said she enjoyed supporting veterans and until a few years ago, would participate in the Memorial Day ceremony at the Mexico Greens by naming the war heroes who had lost their lives during the Vietnam War.

Myrtle’s granddaughter, Lynn LeClair, said Myrtle worked in the school cafeteria for many years, and in later years, she found her calling in life by working for Androscoggin Home Care and Hospice. She comforted many patients and their families in very difficult times and enjoyed helping anyone in need.

She always had a gift of flowers or homemade crafts for her patients and friends. Myrtle would knit little caps for newborns and bring them to the hospital. She received several awards throughout her life for her outstanding dedication to others.

Some of Myrtle’s many talents include knitting, sewing, crafts and flower gardening. She also enjoys helping at her granddaughter’s flower shop.

Myrtle said she was raised during a time when people knew their neighbors and would do what they could to help someone who was having a hard time.

“It’s been an interesting life,” she said. “My family has been good to me. I just feel lucky, enjoy what I have.” 

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