Shelton is turning 104

Published 1:56 pm Thursday, July 5, 2007

By Staff
BERRIEN SPRINGS – Family, friends and neighbors are invited to join Ethan Shelton as he celebrates his 104th birthday.
There will be an "Open House" in his honor on Sunday, July 8 from 1 to 5 p.m. at the Denise Shelton Memorial Picnic Pavilion, located east of Berrien Springs, on Jones Road 3/4th mile south of Pokagon Road. (Maps are available at Shelton's Farm market in Niles.) A picnic buffet will be offered from 1:30 until 2:30 p.m.
Ethan was born in Alabama in 1903, five months before the first airplane flight by the Wright brothers. In 1926, he married Rose Marie Zimmerman in Chicago, Illinois.
He and "Miss Rosey" were happily married for 69 years until her passing in 1995. Together they raised a large family, including five sons and two daughters: Ron (Anna), Jean (Joe) Marston, Norman (deceased),Jim (Betty), Martha Ann ("Bunk") Webber, Kenneth (deceased) and Joe (Deb). To date, the family has grown to 114 children, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
In 1928, Ethan loaded Miss Rosey and baby Ronald and all their worldly possessions that would fit into and onto his Model T Ford and made the trek from Chicago back home to Alabama, where they spent the next 18 years, through the depths of the Great Depression. In 1945, they sold the family farm and moved back to Chicago where they owned and operated a neighborhood grocery store on the near north side.
Ethan and Rose moved their family from Chicago to Berrien County and founded Shelton Farms in 1947. The business has grown through the years to include Shelton's Farm Market and Shelton's Wholesale Co. in Niles. The businesses are now owned and operated in various capacities by three sons Ron, Jim and Joe and grandson Mike. Through the years, daughters Jean and Martha Ann have played key roles in the business, as have a number of other grandchildren, including Don (produce buyer), David (farm manager) and Kevin (shipping manager).
For many years, Ethan also barbered to supplement the farming operation. He owned Shelton's Barber Shop on Front Street in Niles until his retirement in the mid 1960s.
You might suppose that someone who is approaching 104 years of age would be focused primarily on growing older. However, Ethan seems to focus his attention mostly on simply growing. He is an avid gardener, and this spring he convinced his son Joe to increase the size of his garden so he could plant more. Golf continues to be his favorite game, and he has recently been improving his iron shots.
He plays a wide assortment of musical instruments and travels to Wakarusa, Ind. each month with his grandson Chad to make music. And he still finds time to take ballroom dance lessons and engage in an occasional competition. And of course, he attends many birthday parties and other functions with his ever-growing family.
Ethan is a member of the Berrien Center Bible Church and the Buchanan Moose Lodge.
Ethan continues to make many new friends and to inspire those around him, and has been a consistent source of pride for his family.
His persistence, positive thinking and warm sense of humor have set a standard for us all. He is truly a remarkable man. Come and join us at his open house. As Ethan would say….Y'ALL COME!