When Mary Price was born in Gas City in 1912, women didn’t have the right to vote. That changed when she was still a child. Then once she was old enough to vote, she hasn’t missed an election since.
“The first vote of importance was when I got to college and then [I realized] the full right that I had. We take great pride in the ability to be an integral part of not only your life and your family’s life, but the entire community,” Price said. “If we couldn’t vote, where would we all be? This is why it’s so necessary that everyone vote. It’s a great privilege that you have to help bulid the future.”
Taking pride in your community was a lesson she instilled in her students. Price taught English, Speech, Drama and Humanities for 50 years in Indiana and Ohio public schools. She also directed plays and musicals at high schools including Paul Harding and Belmont.
“I’ve always said like yourself and respect yourself. I don’t mean an ego trip. I mean be an individual who respects themselves as well as others. I have students out there now contributing because they like themselves and what they have to contribute to their lives and our lives,” she said.
This election, Price mailed in her ballot. But she was determined to have her voice heard at a time she says is the most divided she’s ever seen the country.
“Not to the extent we’re getting divided now. I don’t ever remember the community being as involved in the decision that’s happening now. That’s wonderful,” Price said.
Price’s daughter, Jeannette Schmidt, said her mother’s always been interested in the news and current events.
“She’s very aware and very conscious of the right to vote and being involved and how critical that is for all of us if we want to maintain the kind of nation we’ve had since she was born in 1912,” Schmidt said.
Price said it’s difficult to name one favorite memory or moment in her lifetime, but her wedding day stands out.
“My husband and I had a ten-year romance. He was going to medical school and I was teaching and we couldn’t afford to get married. So, when we finally said “I Do,” it was one of the most important moments of my life,” Price said.
That moment led to four children, nine grandchildren and 14 great-grandchildren.
“I’m proud of her and her life. She’s given so much to so many people. She knows who she is and knows what she has to do to contribute and has done so joyfully,” Schmidt said.
Price leads a life full of pride in her country, career and family, while also never missing a chance to smile along the way.
“What would life be if you can’t see the positive side? When you think about it, it’s pretty good. I can’t imagine not finding life beautiful,” she said with a grin. “Life is fun. A lot of fun. I’ve had a prime life. A wonderful life.”
While Price said the secret to a long life is never losing your sense of humor, Schmidt added that “living off cheese and craskers and old fashioneds” hasn’t hurt either.