Thursday, September 11, 2003

Woman, 90, named senior citizen of the year

By Patricia Breakey

Delhi News Bureau

TREADWELL — A 90-year-old Treadwell woman, who is spurred by seemingly endless energy, has been honored for contributions to the community. Elsie Davidson was named Delaware County Senior Council 2003-04 Senior Citizen of the Year, according to Edward Nichols, council president. She was honored by her friends and neighbors on Monday at the Delaware County Senior Council's annual meeting. "Mrs. Davidson was selected by the council by merit of her hard work and devotion to her neighbors, church and community over the years," Nichols said. Tom Briggs, Delaware County Office for the Aging director, said the Senior Citizen of the Year is chosen Advertisement by the Senior Council, based on nominations from senior citizen clubs throughout the county. The award is intended to exemplify the ideal older person. Davidson was arranging items at her perpetual garage sale on Wednesday. She runs the sale to benefit the Treadwell Methodist Church. "It's all donated, and it's all for the church," Davidson said, pointing out piles of almost new toys that just arrived from a neighbor. "I have a lot of fun with this." Davidson said she was surprised she had been chosen for the Senior of the Year honor. "I said, 'What for? They have made a mistake of some kind,'" Davidson said. Davidson was born in La Holme, Sweden, in 1913. Her family originally moved to Brooklyn and then upstate as part of a Swedish migration to the country, Briggs said. When Davidson was 6, her mother died, and at 12, she lost her father. She moved in with a beloved uncle, where she loved spending time doing farm chores, she said. After graduating from high school, she attended the Normal School in Oneonta to earn a teaching degree and went to work in the Kellogg School in Treadwell. Davidson said that when she took the job as a seventh-grade teacher, she celebrated by going to Bresee's to purchase a new dress for work. "When I got my first check, I went out and bought oranges and raisins and began planning how to purchase a horse," she said. She eventually met and married Jim Davidson, and in 1942 the couple purchased a farm on Owen Evans Road off Tupper Hill Road near Treadwell. They had two children, Joan and John. During her years on the farm, Davidson was an active parent and community member, working with the Treadwell Community Improvement Club and 4-H — but the Treadwell Methodist Church was her first love. The Davidsons sold their farm and retired to a house down the road in 1976, but she continued her church involvement. She ran a perpetual bottle drive, which is still ongoing, to pay for the church children to attend church camp. Her three-bay garage became a bottle-and-can processing plant with huge barrels filled with recyclable containers. Davidson oversaw church dinners, bake sales, rummage sales and worked at the church's pancake tent at the Delaware County Fair. In 1989, Davidson's husband died. It was hard to be alone, she said, so she filled her hours by investing more time in good causes. She volunteered at the Treadwell food bank and gave elderly friends rides when needed. A year ago, she cut back on the bottle drive and began the permanent rummage sale in her garage, where she has generated thousands of dollars for the church. "The members of the Senior Council are proud to be able to recognize Elsie Davidson as the recipient of the annual Senior Citizen of the Year award," Nichols said. "She joins an elite group of prior award winners and helps us to set higher priorities in our own lives."

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