Florence Horn, Warsaw, marked flying off her bucket list at the age of 90. Her pilot was then-Warsaw Mayor Ernie Wiggins. Florence turns 100 years old today. Photo provided.
Florence Horn, Warsaw, marked flying off her bucket list at the age of 90. Her pilot was then-Warsaw Mayor Ernie Wiggins. Florence turns 100 years old today. Photo provided.

Florence Horn earned $10 at her first job — $10 a week.

For a 60-hour work week.

But the Warsaw woman, who turns 100 today, has never been afraid of hard work.

“She’s always been a mover and a doer,” said her daughter Millicent Andrews.

Florence was born to Clarence and Golden Quine at a big white farmhouse that still stands on CR 225. “The home where I was born was 3½ miles from city limits (in 1917) and now the whole farm is in the city limits,” she said.

That 80-acre farm included 10 acres of tomatoes, which were partly Florence and her sisters’ responsibility. “When we girls would get home from school at night, we had to pick 10 crates,” she remembers.

The family would load up 100 crates of tomatoes on each of two horse-drawn wagons and take them to the canning factory in Pierceton. The next day, they’d do it all over again.

Then there was that job with the $10 pay. Florence worked at a Kroger on South Buffalo Street. Her longest day was usually Saturday.

“The farmers would come to town but would go to a show first before they bought their groceries,” she said. “I might be there sometimes until midnight on a Saturday night.”

She remembers getting a raise, from $10 a week to $11 a week, but then the Social Security law came along “and they took a penny out.”

Life on a farm continued for Florence after she married Owen Horn in 1937. They bought a 15-acre farm and raised 45,000 laying hens in three big chicken houses.

The chickens kept Florence pretty busy. “I got up at 5 in the morning and would still be casing eggs at midnight,” she said. “I don’t think hard work hurts anyone.”

After several years, she and Owen had the chance to raise young pullets for someone else. They gave up the layers, but without thousands of eggs every day, “I didn’t have anything to do then,” she said. “So I just decided to go out to Grace and take a Bible course.”

Her daughters encouraged her to get a degree, which she did in three years.

Florence finished college in 1965 and began teaching first grade at Claypool.

“And I got paid to do it!” she said. Teaching was “just delightful. I just loved it.”

In 1976, Owen suffered a stroke. She transferred to Jefferson Elementary so she could be closer to home and  her husband, and finished her career there.

“The way it worked out ... it was a godsend,” said Florence’s daughter Nedra Dobbins.

Florence has seen the Lord’s hand in all of her choices throughout her long life.

“God was always with me ...” she said.

“And you listened to him,” finished Millicent.

Florence still likes to stay busy. She mowed her own lawn last summer. She just finished her 99th afghan, which, like the others, she plans to give away. She drives to Meijer three to four days a week to walk. When the weather’s bad, she walks a half-mile route — nine laps — in her home.

Her family’s been so good to her, she said, that there’s really nothing left on her bucket list. When she was 90, then-Mayor Ernie Wiggins took her on her first plane ride, all over Kosciusko County, including Dutchtown, where her ancestors lived. She also got to go to the very top of the Kosciusko County courthouse.

Florence has lived a good life, a life that’s fuller because of her faith.

Millicent says her mother sometimes jokes, “I don’t know why God hasn’t taken me. I think He’s forgotten me.”

But “He’s got a purpose for keeping me...” Florence said. “I don’t know what it is, but He knows.”

Birthday wishes may be sent to Florence c/o Warsaw First Brethren Church, 1318 E. Center St., Warsaw, IN 46580.