RAVENNA Anne Casley celebrates in style 200 friends and relatives attend 90th birthday party

Donna Alexander Published:

By Sally Kelly Record-Courier correspondent Ravenna resident Anne Casley turned 90 years old on Jan. 25. Her birthday was celebrated the following day with 200 friends and family members at the Immaculate Conception Hall in Ravenna. What makes Annes birthday more notable, is that she is part of an ever growing number of our neighbors who are coming closer to the century mark with every birthday. When these individuals were born, life expectancy was less than 60 years. In fact, when the Social Security program was created in the 1930s, retirement age was set at 65, expecting only a few of us to live long enough to collect the benefits. Anne has obviously managed to live way past 65, living a very meaningful, active life. The fact that 200 people would come to her party, some from as far away as Youngstown, on a snowy cold day in January, is a tribute to the place which Annie has created for herself in the city of Ravenna. Anne was born in Aliquippa, Pa., in 1913, the oldest of eight children. Her parents, who were married in 1911, came to America from Italy in 1912. They eventually settled in Warren, where they remained until 1929 when they moved to Ravenna. At that time, during the Depression, Ravenna was the home of the Redfern Mills, which offered employment opportunities that attracted the Casley family from Warren. The company then employed 300 individuals who were spinning woolen thread. The thread would then be shipped to Cleveland to the dye houses. Because most of the area men were in the military, the work force was primarily women. Anne worked for more than 25 years until the mill closed and moved south. Anne said the mill moved because it was trying to avoid the new unions expectations and demands. After the mill, Anne worked at a childrens shop for several years, before finally going to work for Ravennas F.W. Woolworth Store. After working 22 years at the store, Anne retired when she was 66. Though Anne always worked, she also made room in her life for politics. She was one of the original members of the Democrats Liberty Club. Her interest in politics has continued through the years, and it has just been in recent years, after 60 years of service, that she finally gave up working at polling places on Election Day. Her familys commitment to the community, and to area politicians was reflected by a story that Mayor Paul Jones told at Annies birthday party. He told of how prior to his marriage he had been periodically invited to dinner at the Casley home. The same home that Annies father had built for them when they came to Ravenna. Anne has remained a lifelong resident of our area, even though she and her sisters purchased a home in California almost 30 years ago. She is content to remain in Ravenna sharing her home with her sister, Diana. Their sister, Lola, now lives in their home on the West Coast. A number of years ago, Anne was in a bad auto accident, and experienced serious injuries, and she was told she might never walk again. But through therapy, and determination, Anne proved them all wrong. Though she walks with a limp, she did walk, and never slowed down. In recent years, she experienced a broken hip, but continued to walk with the injury for many months and it was only diagnosed when the pain became so unbearable that she had to seek medical attention. She does not have a regular physician, because she never gets sick. Anne is now back to her old routine, though she walks a lot more carefully than she did a year ago. She still goes up and down the stairs in their home and plays an active role in keeping it clean. Though Anne has slowed down some in the past few years, she is still active enough to belong to several card clubs, the Sunshine Club and the Golden Girls, and attends the Portage County Senior Services Center on a regular basis. She also has a seat on all of their bus trips headed for Mountaineer Race Track. Though Anne and her sister never had children of their own, their home is filled every Christmas Eve with at least 20 family members who depend upon them to prepare a traditional Italian Christmas celebration. Their heritage is still important to them, and it is equally important to them that their nieces and nephews know about their heritage and customs.

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