On Saturday, May 14 Eleanor Melvin Miller Mitchell put on a pink crown with gold trim and pom-poms to celebrate her 100th birthday.
Mitchell was treated to a ride through downtown Damariscotta, chauffeured in a Jeep Wrangler by Karen-Ann Hagar-Smith, director of outreach and community navigation for the Central Lincoln County YMCA, while Damariscotta Police Officer Phil Tessier gave her a police escort with “lights, sirens, and the whole shooting match.”
As the sound of sirens heralded her return to Hodgdon Green where she lives, friends and family, including her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, and great-great-grandchildren, gathered to celebrate with her.
“Now she gets to be the star of the party,” Hagar-Smith said as Mitchell disembarked from the jeep and headed to the party already in progress on the back patio.
According to a biographical sketch written by Mitchell’s children, Linda Elwell, of Waldoboro, and Gary Miller of Newport, R.I., Mitchell was born May 11, 1922 in Camden. She lived there until she met her first husband, Clifton Miller, at a dance in Hope.
When Miller was stationed with the U.S. Air Force in Colorado Springs, Colo., Mitchell joined him there and the couple married in 1943.
After Miller was discharged, they came back to Maine and settled in Waldoboro, where they raised two children and spent the next 25 years together building a successful welding business, raising laying hens, and tending to the large gardens on their property on Old Route 1. Mitchell spent much of her time with the gardens, canning and freezing fresh vegetables, and making homemade relishes and pickles.
She loved to cook, especially anything chocolate from homemade chocolate sugar donuts to whoopie pies to marshmallow fudge bars and more. And she took “enormous pride in keeping a clean home,” according to her children.
The family spent their down time boating, skiing, and enjoying cookouts and summer fireworks at a property they bought on Damariscotta Lake in the 1950s. They sold the lakefront property in 1967 in order to expand their business.
Miller passed away suddenly in 1969 and Mitchell lived alone for a while at their second home on Manktown Road.
Mitchell married Kenneth Mitchell, a family friend, in 1973. The couple lived at the property on Old Route 1 until he passed away in 1992.
Eleanor Mitchell moved in with her daughter at the Manktown Road property, where she spent her time knitting mittens for the underprivileged and solving jigsaw puzzles with local friends.
Eleanor Mitchell got the opportunity to travel, taking several bus tours and visiting her son in Newport. At the age of 85 she fulfilled a lifelong dream with a Hawaii vacation.
She moved to Hodgdon Green in 2017 at the age of 95. There she enjoys the company of both staff and fellow residents and participates in many of the activities that Hodgdon Green offers.
“Our mother has had a wonderful life and has been a great inspiration to all her family,”
Elwell and Gary Miller said in the biography.
“It’s wonderful,” Eleanor Mitchell said of the surprise party. “I’m so surprised about everything. It’s lovely.”