The Daily Ardmoreite
  • 102 years and counting

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  • In the past century, much has changed, and Dr. Melvin Sidney Anderson has been witness to that changing world.
    Anderson celebrated his 102nd birthday Saturday with his family at Ardmore Village. His birthday is today.
    In more than 100 years, Anderson has been around through 18 U.S. presidents, the sinking of the Titanic less than eight months after his birth, two world wars and adding four more states to the union.
    Oklahoma had been a state less than four years when Anderson was born Aug. 26, 1911 in tiny Martha, Okla., located between Altus and Mangum. One of 10 children raised on a cotton farm where his parents were sharecroppers, his family would move to Blair where they had 80 acres of their own to farm.
    Anderson graduated from Martha High School, then hitchhiked to Stillwater to attend Oklahoma A&M, where he worked for President Bennett doing lawn work and odd jobs while attending college.
    He graduated in 1936 with a bachelor's degree in physical education and a masters in math. He became a high school teacher, principal and superintendent, before working at Mid-Continent Life Insurance in Oklahoma City.
    In 1938, he married Helen Davis Morrison after she received her bachelor's degree in home economics from Oklahoma A&M where they had met attending the Methodist church.
    When he was 51, he attended the University of Arkansas, where he received his doctorate in education. He then taught at Emporia (Kan.) State Teacher's College.
    During his life, he built five houses, the last one when he was 70 years old.
    Anderson and his wife had two children, Sewel Sidney Anderson, born in 1940, and Melrita Davis Anderson, born in 1943. His son now lives in Eureka, Calif., and his daughter, now Melrita Foster, lives near Tahlequah in Park Hill.
    Helen passed away in 1981, and Anderson married Bonita Newport of Seminole in 1983.
    Anderson and Bonita have been residents at Ardmore Village since July 2011.
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