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Proud Tribe fan celebrates her 102nd birthday

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    Evelyn Stang reads one of her birthday cards Friday after she turned 102 at the Life Care Canter of Medina. Activities director Desi Parsons, left, helps her read.

    BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE

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Evelyn Stang reads one of her birthday cards Friday after she turned 102 at the Life Care Canter of Medina. Activities director Desi Parsons, left, helps her read.

BOB FINNAN / GAZETTE Enlarge

LIVERPOOL TWP. — Evelyn (Gibbons) Stang said the key to her longevity is actually quite simple.

“Don’t die,” she told staffers at the Life Care Center of Medina, 2400 Columbia Road.

Stang celebrated her 102nd birthday on Friday with a Cleveland Indians-themed party. She’s been following the Tribe for as long as she can remember and still has some regrets not attending the 1948 World Series between the Indians and Boston Braves.

“I was eight months pregnant,” she said. “I couldn’t go the ballgames. I watched on my old black-and-while TV.”

Besides the Indians winning the series, 4-2, some other good came from that year.

Stang said she was able to “produce a new citizen,” aka her 69-year-old son John Gibbons.

She was born Jan. 12, 1916, in Royersford, Pa., near Philadelphia.

Stang was part of a 27-person graduating class of 1934 from North Ridgeville High School where she spent much time as a young person. She said she attended her first Indians game at League Park on the eastside of Cleveland.

“I went every chance I could get,” she said.

She was a book keeper at Cleveland Trust Bank and then landed a job at Colson Bicycles in Elyria during World War II. Bicycles weren’t the only thing the company was making at the time. She helped make bombs that were sent overseas during the war effort.

She said one of her favorite jobs was at The Chronicle-Telegram in Elyria, the Gazette’s sister paper, where she did book work in the 1940s.

“It was a very interesting job,” Stang said.

Staffer at Life Care filled her room with bouquets of roses and balloons. Of course, she had an Indians blanket on her bed.

She’s convinced the Tribe will go all the way in 2018.

“They came close last year,” Stang said.

She talks about Indians manager Terry Francona like they are intimate friends.

During her birthday party with residents and staff, entertainer Miles Boozer sang Stang several songs, including “Proud to Be an American,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game” and “Happy Birthday.”

The Indians were gracious enough to send a card to one of their oldest living fans.

“It’s really her passion,” activities director Desi Parsons said of the Indians.

Contact reporter Bob Finnan at (330) 721-4049 or rfinnan@medina-gazette.com.

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