HAGERSTOWN—There are many similarities in the lives of Madaline Springer and Paul Shank.
Both were raised in large farming families for at least a portion of their childhood on Hopewell Road, attended the one-room Hopewell School and are longtime members of Grace United Methodist Church in Hagerstown.
Most striking, though, is that they celebrated their 100th birthdays within six months of each other. Springer’s birthday was Jan. 2, while Shank became a centenarian June 29.
Good clean living, hard work, an active lifestyle and a strong faith seem to be the threads that tie their longevity together.
“The Lord has blessed us all these years,” Shank said.
“Oh, I think so,” Springer agreed.
Springer was the seventh of nine children, all born at home, to George and Carrie Socks.
She said her older sisters took her to Grace United Methodist Church when she was a toddler. Her mother was always busy tending to younger children and stayed home on Sundays.
Springer attended school through eighth grade, first at Hopewell School and Winter Street School. When the family moved to Manor Church Drive, she got rides to Washington Street School with her brother on his way to work.
Attending Columbia Business College in Hagerstown for secretarial school was the next step for Springer. She worked at Fairchild Industries for 12 years.
She took time off after her daughter was born, then returned to Fairchild, before taking jobs with different stores, and worked in Greencastle, Pa., processing peaches and apples.
“I tried to retire a couple times, but they kept calling me,” Springer said.
Springer, whose mother spelled her name “Madeline,” didn’t like the way people pronounced it.
“I think Momma had an “e” in it, but I changed it,” she said.
Shank was the youngest of Charles and Carrie Shank’s seven children. He graduated from Williamsport High School in 1929, the only one in his family to graduate from high school.
He took a job working at a local drugstore soda fountain, never dreaming where it would lead.
“I took a temporary job at People’s Drugstore that lasted 44 years,” said Shank, who took time off to serve in the U.S. Navy during World War II.
He said he was always active and on his feet working for the drugstore. Shank was promoted to manager, a post he held for the last 15 years of his career. He retired in 1973.
Springer was 21 when she married Fred Bender. They lived with her parents in their Whitehall Road home.