The staff, residents and families of Village of St. Edward is delighted to celebrate three special birthdays! Resident Grace Shirey celebrated her 104th birthday August 29. Jane Ahern turned 100 on August 18 and Frank Mekina celebrates his 100th on September 6.
Born and raised in Akron, Grace has spent her entire life in the area. She married her husband Bill, June 20, 1936 and spent fifty-six marvelous years together. Together they raised their two children and were active in St. Paul’s Lutheran Church. Fondly known as “the cookie lady,” Grace often sent her daughter on vacation with tins of baked goods to share with their friends, sometime sending as many as six different kinds of cookies. She moved to The Village at age 90 and has befriended many residents and staff. “If I could move back to Amelia Avenue, (where she raised her family) I wouldn’t,” said Grace. “I love it here!”
Jane Ahern, also a lifetime Akronite, was born August 18, 1917. She attended Our Lady of the Elm’s calling herself, “an Elm’s girl all the way through!” Jane met her husband when she was twenty years old, fell in love, married and had eight beautiful children. Jane has enjoyed serving as a board member for the local League of Women Voters. Jane credits her successful aging to being “blessed by the Lord” and because she spent “much time hiking in parks and enjoying nature.”
Frank Mekina was born September 6, 1917 in Barberton. At sixteen, Frank quit school and joined the Civilian Conservation Corps where parts of the west building log cabins, fighting fires, branding cattle and exploring the West. He eventually returned to Akron to work for Babcock & Wilcox where he met his wife, Catherine. The two married February 14, 1941 before he went to Virginia and ultimately Pearl Harbor, Hawaii with the US Navy. He assisted in building runways on Tinian Island, the location from which B-29s carrying the atomic bombs ultimately took off. He was often adventurous, convincing several pilots to let him co-pilot or even replace a gunner for the day. Upon his return home, Frank developed a career in carpentry, built his own home and enjoyed taking Catherine to polka on the weekends. They have two daughters, Jennifer and Eileen, a grandson and twin great-grandsons. The couple was married 68 years and nine months before her death in 2010. At 100, Frank still walks five miles every morning, regularly polkas and has a glass of wine each night.
The Village of St. Edward family and friends and the greater Akron community join in celebrating with Grace, Jane and Frank and wish each of them a blessed and happy birthday!