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Fleming marks 103rd birthday

Tillie celebrating her 102nd birthday.1 / 2
Tillie enjoyed passing out treats to the costumed school kids at Halloween.2 / 2

PLUM CITY--Matilda "Tillie" Rose Fleming was born and raised in Iowa by her parents, Melvin and Mary (Burger) Wyatt.

She was born on Jan. 17, 1910, and will turn 103-years-old on her next birthday!

Tillie is one of 12 children. She has seven brothers and four sisters. As the oldest daughter, she carried much responsibility, including helping with all the household tasks and caring for the younger children. She started school at Hornick, Ia., and attended through the eighth grade.

She had to quit because she was needed to help at home with the farm work. She drove a team of mules on a dump rake in the hay fields, in addition to helping with the housework and changing diapers for her mother. She says she was almost a second mother to her siblings.

In 1928, at age 18, Tillie met and married Elvin Fleming, also 18-years-old. During that time, the economy collapsed, and money and jobs almost didn't exist. Over the years, Elvin and Tillie worked virtually any job just to survive. Most of their work was in agriculture, logging or construction. They were willing to do most any job just to survive.

Tillie always had a large vegetable garden during the summer and, as a result, did a lot of canning. They also raised chickens for meat and eggs, and a cow for milk and butter. She also had beautiful flower gardens.

Tillie was also an accomplished seamstress for her own family and did custom sewing for others. In her "spare time," Tillie crocheted and knitted, and made many quilts. Tillie was known for her marksmanship as well, and the winner of many turkey shoots. She could shoot the heads off wooden stick matches at 25 feet with a .22 rifle!

Tillie and Elvin had five children: two sons and three daughters, Mary Eva, Elvin, Jr., Mylis (deceased), Rose Ellen (deceased) and Michael. Tillie still enjoys her 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and three great, great-grandchildren.

Tillie is also an animal lover. She has had many cats and dogs during her lifetime--but most of all, she enjoyed her horses. She rode her last horse until she was well into her seventies! Tillie was an avid member of the Pepin Trail Blazer Saddle Club for many years. She also belonged to a C B Club from Pepin. Her "handle" (C B name) was "Wild Rose." How fitting!

Tillie has been very blessed with good health, a wonderful family and a long marriage with Elvin. They celebrated 80 years of marriage before his death in 2008.

Tillie is very happy living at her "new home" at the Plum City Care Center. One can often find her involved in the book club, music programs, going on fishing outings or reading independently in her room. She is a wonderful addition to the family there!