XENIA — It’s in Josephine Mitchell’s genes to live a long life.
Her brother Howard lived to 100. Her father lived until he was 98. And a cousin made it to 100.
So it should come as no surprise that family members gathered at Greene Oaks on Tuesday to celebrate Mitchell’s 103rd birthday.
That’s right — 103.
“I’m glad I am able to live that long,” she said before snacking on cake with family and friends.
Mitchell was born Sept. 13, 1912 in Dayton but has lived most of her life in Xenia, graduating from the old East High School. While her now-deceased husband, George, was working at the Ohio Solders and Sailors Orphans Home, Mitchell worked as a seamstress in addition to maintaining their home.
“I just wanted to be a good housewife,” she said. “George was a hard worker. He built our home for us.”
Mitchell stayed in that very home until she was nearly 102 and was known throughout the neighborhood for being a meticulous gardener.
“She was very particular about her flowers,” said nephew Gerald Porter Sr.
Mitchell gets around in a wheelchair but her mind remains sharp.
“She’s very outspoken,” Porter said. “Even today. She says what’s on her mind.”
That’s what makes her so special, according to the staff at Greene Oaks.
“She is wonderful,” said primary caregiver Kandyce Travis. “She’ll let you know what she wants and how she wants everything done. She’s very opinionated. (But) she is amazing.”
Mitchell also has a comical side. Porter said the family kids would have to visit Mitchell’s home on Halloween and one year she gave out stale crackers.
It’s that type of playfulness and lighthearted attitude that Mitchell has attributed to her living so long.
“I don’t let myself get so excited over many things,” she said. “I take it as it is.”
A good credo by which to live.