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May 28, 2012

Glenhaven resident turns 102

The next time you think there's no time to be friendly, consider centenarian, Pearl Schutten, who has just turned 102.

When Schutten first moved in to Glenhaven, shortly before her 100th birthday, one of the things that she liked to do was to go up and down each wing to greet the residents one at a time. Every resident.

"I said if I'm going to do one, I'm going to do another," Schutten said.

For her 95th birthday, her son, Gerald McDaniel, gave her a special gift. A scrapbook, divided by decade, documents Schutten's life, including a 16-page autobiography that McDaniel wrote from recorded interviews with his mother.

Schutten was born in Flemington, Missouri in 1910.

She milked 10 to 12 cows a night on the farm she grew up on so that she and her father could deliver the milk the following morning on his two-horse milk delivery wagon. Schutten said that her father always made sure the family lived close enough to town so that she could attend school.

She was a teacher in Oklahoma City and Minco, where she taught grades first through fourth for 12 years.

Schutten explained that her teaching philosophy was to group students by ability rather than their age.

According to the interview conducted by her son, Schutten said this might mean that a fourth grader who couldn't read be put in a reading group with first graders. By the end of the year, the student would have caught up.

She presented this idea at a teacher's meeting. They asked her to allow other teachers to sit in and observe how her method worked in her classroom.

Some time after she had left her teaching station in Oklahoma City, and had moved back to Minco, the school requested that she come back. However, with a small son to raise, Schutten turned down the offer.

At one point, Schutten also worked in Shawnee and Chickasha as a case worker for the Department of Welfare.

"It was a good lesson for me to go out and talk to people like that," Schutten said.

Schutten first married in 1939 to Bert McDaniel. After he passed away, she was courted by a friend she had known in grade school named Bill Schutten. She was with him for 12 years.

In addition to Missouri and Oklahoma, Schutten has lived in Colorado and Arizona. She has enjoyed crocheting, reading and studying the Bible. She has six grandchildren and about 10 great-grandchildren.

"I feel like I've had a good chance, a good, long life," she said.

Schutten believes in hard work and credits hard work for everything she has accomplished.

"You've got to get in and do your share," she said.

Her 100th birthday party was an all out bash with about 150 people in attendance, but Schutten wanted a quieter party this year. To celebrate her 102nd, Schutten had a birthday luncheon with 13 of her relatives.

While Schutten no longer has the energy to greet every fellow resident of Glenhaven, 102 years of life have given her insight.

When asked what her words of wisdom would be, Pearl offers the following gems:

"If you're gonna do anything, do a good job while you're doing it." She also advises, "It's important to make good friends when you make friends."

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