Sellwood's WWII Veteran Germaine Sullivan turns 100
Germaine Sullivan, who lives at Sellwood's Senior Living Center, celebrated her 100th birthday there on Thursday, July 22, along with dozens of friends and relatives.
Born in Alberta, Canada, Germaine was one of nine children â€“ but the family moved to the United States when she was a child, and she grew up in McMinnville. She and her husband, Jack, both enlisted in the U.S. Army in World War II, and were married in 1946. "As a Sergeant, I outranked him â€“ it was great!" she recalls with a smile.
When she served in the U.S. Army for three years, Geraldine had the duties of a photographer; but when THE BEE asked what kinds of jobs she had as a civilian, she replied, "Hundreds. I was a caregiver for 32 years; I was a PTA mom, and took care of children when their moms went into the service. I also worked as a seamstress at Jantzen Beach for five years, while Jack was in the wholesale plumbing industry."
The couple was married for 70 years before Jack's passing, and had a daughter and three sons. Now the family includes nine grandkids and seventeen great-grandchildren. Jack and Geraldine moved to Portland and had a home in Vanport â€“ south of the Columbia River, between Vancouver, Washington, and Portland. One day they took a bus in to town â€“ but when they returned by bus, the dike had washed out and the Vanport Flood had wiped out their home and city. They lost everything. "The only thing left was our dignity," she recalls. "However, Jack did help several people from drowning."
The family subsequently lived in Portland and then Eugene, then finally moved back to Portland. They loved to go lake fishing in Florence and Eugene. They also loved music. Geraldine recalls taking a bus trip to the Spirit Mountain Casino: "I did very well gambling there," she recalls. "I came back with $1.80!" The couple's son Mark told of his fondest memory: "Mom always came out to my baseball games. When I got a hit, she'd always stand up and scream loudly. It was great for my ego." Other relatives and members of the Sellwood Senior Living Center, formerly known under the name "Elmcroft" and situated at 8517 S.E. 17th Avenue, added their comments and best wishes to the centenarian â€“ who finally left the celebration for a piece of pecan pie, and a nap.
You count on us to stay informed and we depend on you to fund our efforts. Quality local journalism takes time and money. Please support us to protect the future of community journalism.