GREENVILLE – Numerous friends and family members of Elaine McMahan gathered Nov. 15 at the Greenville American Legion Post 140 to help her celebrate her 94th birthday.
The surprise event was organized by her good friend and “third” daughter Darlene Knick Palser at no better venue than the American Legion, since Elaine spent a lot of her time there and still drops in at times.
“She has been a member of the auxiliary for at least 48 years,” said another Legion Auxiliary member Linda Arthur.
Elaine’s husband, Gene, was the commander of the Legion and was finance officer for many years and also served on the Greenville Veterans Honor Guard. He died June 13, 2013, at the age of 84.
The couple met in Oxford, Ohio, on a blind date, and were married Feb. 25, 1950. They had lived in Oxford until they moved to Celina and subsequently to Greenville in 1957, for his work in sales with Buchy Packing Co., and he later retired from Mikesell’s Potato Chip Co.
To their union were born three children, Gena Fulmmer of Cincinnati, Liz McMahan of Fairfield and Jeffey of Los Angeles, Calif. There are also four grandchildren and one great-grandson.
Elaine was just about as active in the American Legion as her husband but only in the auxiliary. She served as president for many years.
“I love the auxiliary,” she said. “I did everything…president, secretary, chaplain. I love it and everybody here.”
She was chairman for 20 years of the annual Children’s Christmas Party held at the old American Legion Post on Sycamore Street, where Murph’s Coins had been located.
“I’m great at making suggestions,” said the birthday honoree. “After my work with the auxiliary, I decided I am not going to sit in a rocking chair. I don’t drive anymore and take the Greenville Transit wherever and whenever I need to go. I have been on the Transit board for three years. I was honored several years ago for riding it more than anyone else.”
The former Elaine Kimball was born and raised in Oxford and was born Nov. 15, 1927. She is the only one in her family who has lived this long.
Her parents died when they were 79 and she noted that her two sisters are also deceased.
The organizer of the party, Darlene Palser, takes Elaine shopping, out to dinner and to other events, and her husband Mike mows Elaine’s grass.
“I thank Darlene for doing this (party),” said Elaine, who was given a crown to wear for the party. “I feel wonderful, especially tonight. It was a surprise.”