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County native celebrates 100th one visitor at a time

HOLLIDAYSBURG — Hours after celebrating her 100th birthday Thursday, Hannah “Ruth” Heverly struggled to recollect the memories and lessons she received along the way.

But when speaking about her extensive friends and family, Heverly didn’t miss a beat.

“I’m just thankful for all the special people in my life,” she said.

Heverly’s 100th birthday was celebrated in an unusual but special way, she said.

Due to COVID-19 protocol, her family members were only able to visit her room one person at a time.

But family members from all over, including a grandson from Connecticut, were able to visit her, showering her with flowers, balloons and a few sweet treats as well.

“I love my family,” Heverly said. “They are very important to me.”

Heverly was born in Altoona in 1921 and has lived in the area her entire life.

A graduate of Altoona High, she raised her family with her first husband, the late John Linn, until his passing in 1966.

She then embarked on a career at the Altoona Mirror, where she worked for 14 years in the advertising department.

She retired in 1980. Even years after retiring, Heverly said reading the Mirror is part of her daily routine.

“I worked there a long, long time,” Heverly said. “But I still read the paper everyday.”

Heverly later married Sam Heverly, and the two enjoyed life together until his passing in 2001.

She has two sons, Philip and the late Douglas Linn.

“She always told me to be kind to people,” Philip Linn said. “I’ve always looked up to her. She’s always been there for me.”

Over the years, Heverly’s family has extended to grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even great-great-grandchildren, as well as several nieces and nephews.

“I like the area and the people,” Heverly said. “It was my home.”

She is currently a resident at The Lutheran Home at Hollidaysburg.

“We enjoy having Ruth,” Life Enrichment Coordinator Jennifer Helsley said. “We want to wish her a wonderful 100th birthday.”

After her retirement from the Mirror, Heverly tended to her family and spent much of her time with her best friend, Phyllis Guyer.

The two traveled and spent time together for years until Guyer’s passing in 2017.

“They really enjoyed their time together,” Linn said. “They went everywhere together.”

In her free time, Heverly enjoys playing bingo, card games, making crafts and attending church.

She has also received numerous visits from Linn.

While Linn is able to visit her in person now, he often had to visit Heverly by speaking through her bedroom window.

“She stays on the first floor, so we were able to knock on the window and talk for a little,” Heverly said. “She smiled a lot, so she must’ve been able to hear what we were saying. Her family means a lot to her.”

Heverly said Linn has been her biggest help and has constantly been right at her side.

“He’s very helpful,” Heverly said. “I’m not sure what I would ever do without him.”

Linn said his mother was independent for the majority of her life, and she has only needed assisted living for the past five years.

Heverly first lived with her son in his Williamsburg home for two years and has been a resident at the Lutheran Home for the last three years.

“She was able to completely take care of herself up until only a few years ago,” Linn said. “She was very independent. She wasn’t so sure about the Lutheran home at first, but over time she’s come to enjoy it. She says it’s her home now.”

While she said she could live another 100 years, Heverly is taking it one day at a time.

She said she is following her faith and seeing where life takes her in her next chapter.

“Just trust in God,” Heverly said.

Mirror Staff Writer Calem Illig is at 814-946-7535.

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