Salem Pioneer Cemetery ~ Luella M. Charlton
~ part of the Marion County Pioneer Cemeteries of Oregon
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Luella M. Charlton
|LAST NAME: Charlton
||FIRST NAME: Luella
||MIDDLE NAME: M.
|MAIDEN NAME: Patton
|BORN: 16 Feb 1898
||DIED: 23 Dec 2007
|BIRTH PLACE: Oregon
|DEATH PLACE: Salem, Marion Co., Oregon
Name of father Edwin Cooke Patton
Maiden name of mother Leah Orsella Guiss
1900 OR CENSUS - Luella M. Patton, age 2, b. Oregon, is enumerated with father Cooke Patton, age 30, occupation head of bookstore, b. Aug 1869 in Oregon, and his wife of 6 years, Sella, mother of 1, b. Jan 1869 in Ohio, in the home of her great grandmother Eliza Cooke, age 84, widowed, mother of 2 children neither of whom are living at the time of the census, b. New York, along with Hal D. Patton, identified as grandson [of Eliza], occupation partner in bookstore, b. Jan 1872 in Oregon, and his wife of 4 years, Ella, age 25, b. May 1875 in Oregon. Also enumerated with the family is a servant, May Smith, age 22, b. Oct 1877 in Missouri.
1920 OR CENSUS - Luella Patten [Patton], age 21, occupation monument works stenographer, b. Oregon, is enumerated with father Edwin C., age 50, occupation bookstore merchant, b. Oregon, and Sella, age 51, b. Oregon. Also enumerated with the family is a servant, Minnie Metzger, age 24, b. Oregon.
On 106th birthday, friends and family are the best gift
Five generations celebrate a Salem woman's milestone.
By Capi Lynn
The living room of her southeast Salem home looks like a cross between a Hallmark store and a floral shop.
Birthday cards, flower arrangements and balloons spill over the fireplace mantel and hearth and onto a parlor table.
"It's astonishing to me that a woman my age has so many friends," Luella Charlton said. "It moves me to tears."
Charlton, thought to be the oldest living woman in Salem, turned 106 Monday.
Five generations of her family came to town for a special dinner at Caruso's Italian Cafe.
Normally, they would have celebrated at Paprikas Hungarian Restaurant - as they have since her 100th birthday - but it closed in June.
Helen Varga, one of the restaurant's owners, telephoned Charlton earlier in the day, wishing her a happy birthday and telling her that she would stop by to visit soon.
"Bless her heart," Charlton said.
The two women became friends when Charlton was a frequent patron, and they remain close.
A few weeks ago, Varga brought by one of Charlton's favorite dishes from the former restaurant, cabbage roll.
"She is a lovely lady," Varga said. "Her sweetness, her memory.
"She is amazing. I admire how sharp she is."
Charlton, no doubt, has made a similar impression on others.
She remains surprised by the number of phone calls and visitors she receives, even when it's not her birthday.
On one recent day, seven people stopped by and, at one point, she had to ask a friend to entertain a gentleman in the kitchen while she went to the restroom. She had been so busy entertaining visitors that she hadn't had time for a break.
All she asked for this birthday was to be left alone, because she didn't want anyone to make a big fuss over her turning 106.
She reluctantly agreed to spare a few minutes for a Statesman Journal reporter, pointing out that she had more pressing matters to tend to.
"I'm trying to get to my income taxes," she said, "and I can't get to it."
She was in for a surprise later, when her son, Robert, 76; grandson Steve, 49; great-grandson Rob, 26; and great-great grandson Nathan, 2, all showed up at the house.
Robert lives in town, and she knew Steve was coming from California, but she had no idea Rob and Nathan, who live in Florida, would be joining them.
"I'm aghast," Charlton said after many hugs from her boys.
They surrounded her on the couch for a photograph, giving her the best birthday gift she could hope for: a new family portrait for her living room wall.
"I thought I'd never get another one," she said.
Charlton is a happy, upbeat person, although she gets restless because she isn't able to get out much anymore. Her back and legs are shaky, and she needs a walker just to get around the house.
"This kills me - just sitting," she said.
"I'm lucky that I've still got this," she added, pointing to her mind.
She reports that she feels remarkably well for her age and doesn't have to take many medications.
"I've got a husky voice; I don't hear as well, but what do you expect at 106?" she said.
Charlton spends part of her days reading - mysteries are her favorite - and is thankful that the Assistance League of Salem brings her three books per month.
Her hands are crippled, but she still manages to play the piano every day.
"That's been my comfort," she said.
She relies on her son and outside help for assistance. She hires somebody to stay the night with her, and someone else to come by each evening to serve dinner and clean up.
Robert, her only child, and his wife, Marilyn, supply dinner every night, which Charlton says is a blessing. He also does all her shopping and takes her to doctor appointments.
"He's a good son," said Charlton, who was widowed in 1959.
She has three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.
"I'm proud to make it to 106," she said, in the same breath confessing that she doesn't look forward to another birthday.
"I hurt - my hips, my legs - I don't hanker to be here."
Her family doesn't buy it.
"She's been saying that since she was 90," grandson Steve said with a smile.
Statesman Journal 17 Feb 2004
Oregon woman celebrates 109th birthday
SALEM, Ore. -- Luella Charlton still balances her own checkbook, prepares her income-tax returns and follows the stock market at age 109.
As she prepared to celebrate her birthday on Friday, one of the oldest people in the state said she has to use a walker to get around the house but she is proud of still being on her own.
"When I turned 100, it was a big event," Charlton said. "People weren't 100. Now nine years later, that's nothing. There's lots of 100-year-olds.
"But they're not living alone, though I'm not trying to brag," she added.
Nationally, there are about 120 people who are 109 or older, according to Robert Young, who works for the Gerontology Research Group and is a consultant for Guinness Book of World Records.
The oldest known person in Oregon is 110-year-old Helen Johnson.
Charlton, born in Salem in 1898, has lived in three centuries and through 19 presidents, from William McKinley to the current administration. A staunch Republican, she chooses her words carefully when asked her opinion of President Bush.
"I'm a little disappointed, but I don't want to run him down," she says. "He gets run down enough. He's doing the best he can."
Politics always have been important to Charlton. Her great-grandfather, Edwin N. Cooke, was state treasurer. Her grandfather, Thomas McFadden Patton, was a state representative. Her uncle, Hal D. Patton, was a state representative and a senator.
She says voting has been a privilege she has taken to heart for more than eight decades.
"I've never missed a year, from the day they started letting us vote," she said, referring to the 1920 passage of the 19th Amendment, which gave women the right to vote.
Charlton was born in a three-story mansion that once stood across from the Capitol. The house, built by her great-grandfather, was razed in 1938 to make way for the state library.
"I look back now and think it was criminal they tore that house down," said Charlton, who has lived in just two houses in her life.
Her only child, Robert Charlton, is 79 and also lives in Salem with his wife, Marilyn, who supply dinner for Charlton every night. Her son also does her shopping and takes her to doctor's appointments.
Although Charlton says she has no secret to living a long and healthy life -- "I always thought I'd be gone by 60, 65, like the rest of my family" -- her former neighbor, Donna Larkin, believes Charlton's well-balanced diet has been a factor.
"She always stresses fruits and vegetables, and everything like coffee and sweets, she eats in moderation," Larkin says. "I think that's why she's lived this long. Her health is unbelievable for that age."
Framed sketches and photographs of the mansion are prominently displayed in the home where she lives today. A lifesize portrait of her as a young girl graces the wall of one of the bedrooms. She and her husband, Carl, had the house built after they got married. Carl died in 1959, and she never remarried.
Her piano, made by Hallet, Davis & Co., is more than a century old, brought to Salem by ship after a journey around South America.
Charlton no longer plays because her hands are crippled. She also complains her legs are a little shaky. But her health is remarkably good. She takes blood-pressure medication, but little else.
"Getting old is tough," Charlton said. "But if you keep fighting and make the best of it, life is good."
10:50 AM PST on Friday, February 16, 2007
Salem's 'walking history book,' Luella Charlton, dies at 109
By Ruth Liao
Luella Patton Charlton, thought to be Salem's oldest resident, died Sunday, two months shy of her 110th birthday.
Family, friends and community members recall the lifelong Salem resident as a voracious reader who watched the stock market daily and kept well-connected with her acquaintances -- up to her last few days.
"She was bright, sparkly eyed, coherent and ran her own financial matters," said Gail McDougle, the pastor of First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. "She was really fully engaged in her life until 24 hours before she died."
McDougle described Charlton as a "walking history book," who well-remembered intricacies of Salem history.
Charlton was a lifelong member of First Congregational. McDougle and former longtime pastor Ed Henderlite will conduct a joint memorial service Jan. 5, McDougle said.
Charlton's son, Robert, said his mother was a friendly, loving person who cared about people around her.
"She loved her friends," Robert Charlton said.
Luella Charlton was born in 1898 in a three-story mansion across the street from the Capitol. The mansion later was cleared for the state library. When she married, Charlton moved to her second and last home, where she had lived for more than 80 years.
Luella Charlton met her husband, E. Carl Charlton, a former Salem police assistant chief and two-term councilman. Friends and family say a young Carl stopped at a dance studio one night to ask for dancing lessons. The owner asked her assistant, Luella, to teach the man how to ballroom dance. Carl Charlton died in 1959.
"She was a remarkable woman in her own way," Robert Charlton said.
Charlton also is survived by Robert's wife, Marilyn, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great grandchildren.
Many spoke of Charlton's exacting memory of events in her life, which touched three centuries.
Longtime family friend John M. Harvey of Portland, a retired editor of The Oregonian, often lunched with Charlton on Sundays.
Charlton had witnessed the 1935 Capitol fire when she was taking her husband, Carl, to work, Harvey said.
Charlton taught piano lessons for years and owned an upright Hallet, Davis & Co. piano, more than 100 years old. It was brought by ship after a journey around South America.
Harvey described Charlton as independent and strong-willed but not overbearing.
"She led a full life. She was still going to Reno in her 90s," Harvey said. "And she gave up driving in her mid 90s and then complained about it for a year about what a mistake it had been."
Charlton also was an ardent Portland Trail Blazers fan, watching games religiously and keeping track of players with a handwritten roster, Harvey said.
For her 109th birthday, a Trail Blazers contingent presented Charlton with gifts that included a team pennant and a bobblehead of center Joel Przybilla, 28, her favorite player, Harvey said.
Former neighbors Chris and Kim Powell recalled the advice Charlton would give to the couple. Some of her mottoes -- "Don't put anything off" and "Never leave your dishes in your sink overnight" -- were exemplary of how she lived, Kim Powell said.
Charlton's neighbor Debbie Garrett said when her 2-year-old son was born, Charlton told Garrett she would have offered to baby-sit, and could have, if she were only 105 years old.
"She might have been delicate in her features, very petite, but not in her demeanor or consternation," Garrett said. "She was extremely forthright."
Harvey said the last Sunday he saw her recently, Charlton was finishing her latest mystery novel and updating him on her four newest stocks.
"She'd complain that she couldn't recall something immediately and she'd beg my forgiveness, saying, 'You have to remember that I'm getting old,' " Harvey said. "To her, she never really got old, she was getting old."
Statesman Journal 27 Dec 2007 pg 1
SEE - Salem Online History
Luella Patton Charlton
February 16, 1898 - December 23, 2007
SALEM - Her heart stopped while sleeping peacefully in her bed, at her home of 81 years. She is survived by her son, Robert; three grandchildren, Jennifer, Steve, and Denise; seven great-grandchildren; and five great-great-grandchildren.
Her parting wish was to extend her thanks to her son and his wife for "sacrificing twelve years of their retirement to provide for my many needs, doctors, medication, fixing my hearing aids, all the wonderful meals Marilyn so lovingly provided, and the many incidentals in-between."
She also thanks the dedication of her many care providers, especially Donna, Maurine, and Sandy. "I am sure my final days of constant care will be difficult for them. I would like to give a special thanks to all my neighbors and many friends that have sent cards, letters, visits, and the phone calls received over the many, many years."
Please consider sending a donation in to the Union Gospel Mission, Friends of Pioneer Cemetery, or to the Hospice NW.
A memorial service will be held at 2 p.m. Saturday, January 5 at First Congregational Church, 700 Marion Street NE.
Statesman Journal 27 Dec 2007
Woman lived in here and now
Friends and family gather to remember 109-year-old resident
By EUNICE KIM
It wasn't just the 109 years that Luella Patton Charlton lived that made her a remarkable woman, her friends and family say. It was the full life she lived in those years.
"She was present in life," said Ed Henderlite, pastor emeritus at First Congregational Church, United Church of Christ. "Nothing passed her by. She was open to the people and world around her, finding joy and satisfaction in whatever came her way."
Family, friends and community members celebrated the life of Charlton on Saturday during a memorial service at First Congregational, where she was a lifelong member. Charlton was thought to be Salem's oldest resident when she died Dec. 23.
Her service drew people of all ages, new friends and old, acquaintances and companions. Many said the gathering was a reflection of how important friends were to Charlton.
"I appreciate everyone being here, but she would be thrilled," her son Robert said. "Her friends were critically important to her. Always were."
More celebratory than somber, the service was filled with organ music and hymn singing, scripture readings and fond memories of Charlton. A photo of the lifelong Salem resident stood next to a single burning candle on the church altar, which was surrounded by colorful bouquets of flowers.
Standing at a podium, Gail McDougle, the pastor of First Congregational, said Charlton became a "walking, talking book of living history."
Born in 1898, her life spanned three centuries, 19 presidents and 28 Oregon governors. She never lived in the past, however, McDougle said. Instead, Charlton engaged in the here and now, interested in everything from music to civic affairs to the stock market.
"She remained fully alive during all of the seasons of her life," McDougle said.
Many described Charlton as being forthright and firm in her beliefs, yet always open to new ideas. Stephen Haddan, former associate pastor at First Congregational, said he knew that firsthand. He met Charlton -- who knew he was gay -- when she was 102 and he heard she was a pillar of the church. At their second meeting, Haddan remembers her looking him in the eye and saying, "Now, tell me about your fellow."
Several meetings later, Haddan brought his partner, Doug Fischer, to meet her, and the two instantly hit it off. Soon, she would be asking Haddan, "How's my fellow?"
"She taught me we're never too old to open up our world, and we're certainly never too old to love everyone," Haddan said.
Friends and neighbors said Charlton was a caring woman who always wanted to know how everyone was doing. She became known as "the mayor of 23rd Street," said former neighbors Lisa and Darrin Phillips.
"She liked to be in the know," Lisa Phillips, 40, said.
Chris Powell, 38, lived across the street from Charlton for 18 years before moving away last year. He said Charlton watched his children Colin and Chloe grow and often enlisted his family's help around her house. The work, however, never felt like a chore, Powell said.
"It made you feel good," he said. "She was always so thankful for every tiny thing you did for her."
Charlton died in her bed in her house -- the one she and her late husband, Carl, had built after they married -- just the way she wanted, her son Robert said. She is survived by Robert and his wife, Marilyn, three grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren.
"She lived the way she wanted," Robert said. "She lived in her house. She did what she wanted to do when she wanted to do it. She had a wonderful life."
Statesman Journal 6 Jan 2008
1900 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., Salem, ED 131, sheet 2B)
1920 OR CENSUS (Marion Co., Salem, ED 343, sheet 4B)
SJ 17 Feb 2004
SJ 27 Dec 2007
||SPACE: E.N. Cooke Vault