Ghost of Main Street: It’s Never Too Late – Remembering Allie Mosher

May 23, 2019

By Julie Traynor

Marion High School can count among her graduates a number of folks who lived long and prosperous lives. Steven Rennells, Class of 1922, faithfully returned for Old Fashioned Days and the school reunion when he was well into his 90’s. Life-long resident Louise Blevins Corner Furkey graduated with the class of 1927. After her family was grown, she returned to the Marion Schools to teach. Irene White Helfrich was a member of the class of 1923 and went on to college and a career. She returned to Marion in the 1940’s where she spent the rest of her 102 years.

These and hundreds of other Marion High School grads went on to colleges, jobs and other things for which their education prepared them. And many lived long and rich lives. There has been one Marion graduate who lived a long and rewarding life before graduating from high school. This student was in her 9th decade when she returned to the classroom to earn her diploma, proving that it is indeed never too late.

Allie Case Mosher received an American flag, flown over the White House in her honor, from State Representative Sid Ouwinga at her Marion High School graduation. Also in the photo are Bob Hamilton, Adult Ed Co-ordinator and Ralph McCrimmon, High School Principal. 

Allie Case attended the Marion schools through the eleventh grade, but quit before graduation. “I always wanted to be an English teacher,” she told the Cadillac Evening News in 1989, “I knew I wouldn’t go any farther after I graduated. They closed down the Normal school in Evart. I was so mad.” The always-positive Allie got on with her life.

Allie was, in 1896 the daughter of early residents Carl and Jenny Case Disbrow. She and her two sisters were born on their father’s farm, just west of Marion, on the southwest corner of what is now 20 Mile Rd and 40th Ave. She married Willis Mosher and together they raised four children, Ernie, Rollie, Gaylord and Norma. She worked various jobs, including 12 years at the early library. Allie raised a large garden and preserved the fruits of her labor. She sewed, knit, crocheted and played the piano with a group of local musicians who entertained various senior centers and nursing facilities. Allie was a well-known good cook and baker and a long time member of the Ever Ready Club of Winterfield.

Allie’s adventure as a senior, Senior began when Bob Hamilton, director of Adult Ed spoke with the Marion Senior Citizen’s, of which she was a member. Hamilton mentioned that the adult classes were for all, including Seniors, for whom he stressed, it was never too late.

Jokingly Allie spoke up and said ‘I should do that.’ Before she knew it, she was enrolled. With the full support of her family, she began her Adult Education venture, which she very much enjoyed in spite of anxiety over exams. Later she claimed they all talked her into it.

Allie Case Mosher was just one of twenty-three Adult Education graduates to receive diplomas in 1989. The guest speaker was local State Representative Sid Ouwinga and as always, the High School gymnasium was packed with the proud families and friends of the graduates. But this one was a bit different. Along with proud parents with Instamatic cameras, there were also video cameras from two television stations and reporters from several news outlets. Allie Mosher’s story had already been featured in the Detroit Free Press and Detroit News, and more locally in almost every newspaper and she would make the local television news.

 On June 1, 1989, after earning all A’s and the 12 credits needed, Allie Case Mosher proudly received her high school diploma through Marion’s Adult Education Program. She was 92 years old and became the oldest person ever to graduate from Marion High School.

“Changes are coming at a bewildering pace and we must keep up through education,” Ouwinga told the graduates, acknowledging the ever-quickening pace of life. It is a phrase used in one way or another at every graduation, every year. Allie Case Mosher, MHS eldest graduate, knew this for a fact and proved that no truer words are ever spoken.   

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