Many flowers, balloons, birthday cards, signs and decorations adorned the Autumnwood Care Center and the room of Violet A. Mullins Thursday as she celebrated her 100th birthday with cake and ice cream.
Among the many greetings was a card from The White House wishing her a happy 100th birthday, thanking her for her "contributions to the American story" and commending her generation for "the courage to persevere through depression and war, and the vision to broaden our liberties through changing times." It was signed by President Barack Obama and his wife, Michelle.
Violet was born in Tiffin, graduated from Tiffin High School in 1931, and spent the majority of her life in Tiffin.
The birthday girl, Violet Mullins, is joined by her sons, Robbie and Dennis Hartsell, to celebrate her 100th birthday Thursday.
She married Clyde M. Hartsell in 1938 and unexpectedly lost him to a heart attack in 1952. She married William Mullins in 1958, and he died in 1999.
She has two sons, Robbie Hartsell of Pickerington and Dennis (Bette) Hartsell of Tiffin, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren (with one more expected in October). Her daughter-in-law, Lynn, is deceased.
Both sons describe Mullins as a woman of faith who was always determined, hard-working and committed to her family and friends.
"She was always a strong woman who survived some very difficult times in her life," Dennis said.
He cited the sudden death of his father as an example. There was no welfare then and she worked a full-time job in order to support herself and care for her young sons.
"She worked very hard and did a great job as a single mother who didn't have a lot of help," Robbie added.
Violet worked for many years at General Electric in Tiffin, and in her later years, she was a part-time clerk at Lawson's. She was also a member of the Washington Street Methodist Church.
After retirement, she and her husband, Bill, spent winters in New Port Richey, Fla., and made numerous trips throughout the United States in their motor home. They also took a treasured vacation to Hawaii.
Although Violet has been confined to a wheelchair for several years, she can always be found in the lobby of Autumnwood greeting visitors. Her dry sense of humor often impacts or is directed at the staff and visitors.