TIPP CITY — A former Piqua resident is still standing strong after almost 100 years of life. Lucille Sansam, formerly of Piqua and currently of Liberty Commons in Tipp City, will be celebrating her 100th birthday on Thursday.
“I’ll be 100 years old,” Sansam said. “That don’t seem possible.”
Sansam, her sister Francis Mamuchamer, and her brother Clarence “Buck” Walker are three siblings still living out of seven children. Sansam was the oldest and Walker was the youngest.
Sansam married her first husband, John Lloyd Supinger, when she was 17 years old in 1933.
“She eloped when she was 17,” Shirley Norris, Sansam’s daughter, elaborated.
“A cousin of mine introduced me to him,” Sansam said. Supinger worked at Wood Shovel & Tool Company in Piqua and also served in World War II in the Army. He was stationed in France during the war.
With Supinger, Sansam had three children, including Norris, who lives in Arcanum, and Rick Supinger of Tipp City. They lost their first son, John Raymond Supinger, approximately 10 months after he was born, when he suffered a ruptured appendix.
Sansam and Supinger were married until Supinger was killed in 1949 after an accident in which Supinger was electrocuted.
“People don’t believe in warnings, but I got warnings,” Sansam said about her first husband’s death. Sansam said that there were different things that had happened to her husband, but she did not recognize them as warnings because she was young. Both she and her husband were 32 years old when Supinger passed away.
“I just felt like it was warnings for me,” Sansam said. About that hardship in her life, as well as a few others, Sansam remarked that she continued to move forward. “You pick up and go on,” Sansam said. “It was a terrible shock.”
After Supinger passed away, Sansam took a job working in the plant at Orr Felt Company.
“I worked there probably 30 years,” Sansam said. “I enjoyed it, working there.”
Sansam married her second husband, Paul Sansam, in 1956.
“He was five years older than me,” Sansam said, adding that Paul Sansam had never been married before. “My brother brought him down to the house … (and) he asked me for a date.”
Paul Sansam also worked at Wood Shovel & Tool Company, where Sansam’s first husband had worked and he was stationed in Alaska during World War II with the Army Air Corps.
Sansam’s children were supportive of her second marriage.
“I was her maid of honor,” Norris said. “I was 16.”
Sansam and her second husband moved to Florida in the late 1970s after Sansam retired from Orr Felt Company. Sansam’s sister moved to Florida as well.
“We started cleaning houses,” Sansam said of her and her sister. “We did that until I was 90 years old.”
Sansam said that their cleaning services spread by word of mouth. They cleaned each house once every two weeks. “We had a lot of them,” she said.
Sansam’s second husband passed away in 2002.
“She had breast cancer when she was 95,” Norris said. In talking with doctors during that time in Sansam’s life, Norris said that her mother was going to live to be 106. When Sansam’s doctor was skeptical, Norris shot back, “You don’t know my mother.”
Sansam had the tumor removed, and went home the day after the operation. “I walked out of there,” she said, recalling that she refused to be taken out of the hospital in a wheelchair. Since then, Sansam has not had any problems. “I’ve been pretty strong.”
Sansam has been back in Ohio for approximately three years to be closer to her family. Her sister lives with her in Liberty Commons.
“I really never thought I’d live to be 100,” Sansam said.
Norris’ husband, Mark, remarked that Sansam’s mother died young, passing away at 34 from kidney disease when Sansam was 14 years old.
“We were pretty close,” Sansam said, adding that losing her mother was hard on her and her six siblings. “I missed having my own mother.”
Sansam’s father later re-married. “She was good to us,” Sansam said. “Coming in with seven children … I don’t think I would have done that.”
While Sansam may not have given living to 100 years old much thought, Norris expressed her happiness at being to able have her mother in her life for so long.
“I’m just thrilled,” Norris said. With many of her friends not having their parents around, Norris feels lucky to be able to pick up the phone and call her mother whenever she wants. “I’m so thrilled to still have her.”
Sansam’s family includes grandchildren Shelly Norris, Craig Norris, and Jason Supinger, along with great-grandchildren Kaili Norris, Jazmin Norris, Jonah Norris, and Sydney Supinger, Sansam’s most recent great-grandchild.
“She was tiny,” Sansam said, explaining that Sydney was a little over five pounds when she was born. Sansam met her after traveling to Michigan to spend Thanksgiving with her family there. “She’ll grow up to be pretty,” Sansam added.
Sansam’s family will be holding an open house to celebrate her 100th birthday on Saturday, Jan. 16, from 2-4 p.m. at First Baptist Church, 6533 S. Tipp-Cowlesville Road in Tipp City. Family and friends are invited, and the family has requested that guests do not bring gifts.
Reach reporter Sam Wildow at (937) 451-3336 or on Twitter @TheDailyCall