When former teacher and lifelong Clermont County resident Grace Duchemin turned 100 this week, several celebrations were held in her honor. She is now a resident at Batavia Nursing Care Center, and fellow residents and staff held a party for her Thursday, Oct. 8.
“We usually have monthly birthday parties for our residents,” said administrator Brandy Masminster. “But we have never had a birthday party for someone turning 100.”
“I don’t know how I’ve lived to be 100,” said Duchemin. “Only the Lord knows.”
According to her daughter, Marge Sumner, she lived most of her life in Clermont County.
"She is a 1926 graduate of Owensville High School and a 1930 graduate of the University of Cincinnati," said Sumner. "Her parents moved to Evanston for a time so she could be closer to college. She also did an extra year of college. Back then educators had to do an extra year serving as a student teacher."
With her love of plants, Duchemin's first major was botany, but she changed her major to elementary education.
Duchemin received a bachelor degree in education in 1931. She began her teaching career as an elementary education teacher at Indian Hill. She taught there for five years and took a break from teaching to get married and raise a family.
Grace married Floyd Duchemin in 1936 and the couple had three daughters, Kathy (Mike) Curry, Barbara (Bert) Gallant and Marge (Jim) Sumner.
When her children started school, she began teaching again, first at Williamsburg Elementary and finally at Clermont Northeastern. She taught first and second grade at the school for years and served as a reading teacher. Duchemin retired from CNE in August 1972.
After her retirement, she and her husband, Floyd, spent many years traveling around the US and enjoyed spending time in Florida.
Several area dignitaries were on hand to extend birthday wishes to Duchemin, including Batavia Township Trustee Archie Wilson and township administrator Rex Parsons. They presented her with a certificate of honor from the township. Clermont Northeastern Superintendent Neil Leist and treasurer Brian Switzer stopped by to deliver a certificate of appreciation from the CNE faculty and staff for her years of service to the school.
Her best friend, Betty Pringle, joined her at the table for cake and ice cream. The two were recipients of balloon flowers and crowns made by a clown who paid a visit to the party. The crowd was entertained by the music of Richard Schultz on the keyboard.
Duchemin has served with the Eastern Star in Owensville and been an active member of Owensville United Methodist Church for many years. She also belongs to the Clermont County retired teachers organization.
Her hobbies include farming, bird watching, reading, working crossword puzzles and playing games on her computer. She sold the family farm last year.
Duchemin continues to watch the birds from her room at Batavia Nursing Care Center and is involved in many of the activities offered at the center.
A party for family and friends was planned at Owensville United Methodist Church on Saturday, Oct. 10. Duchemin said she was looking forward to meeting some old friends and enjoyed all the attention.