Longtime Twinsburg resident celebrates 100th birthday

April Helms
Kent Weeklies
Stanford Jewell, a longtime Twinsburg Resident, turned 100 on Sunday. He was honored with a drive-thru celebration. He currently stays at Hudson Grande.

TWINSBURG – Eighteen United States presidents. Two World Wars. The Jazz Age, followed by the Great Depression. Charles Lindbergh’s solo flight across the Atlantic. The moon landing. The invention of the Band-aid, radio, “Talkies,” television, traffic lights, hair dryers and the Internet.

Longtime Twinsburg resident Stanford Jewell has seen this and more in his 100 years. To celebrate, Hudson Grande Senior Living, where he currently is staying, and the Twinsburg VFW Post 4929 helped organize a drive-through birthday party.

“I don’t remember anyone in my family being 100 before,” said Mr. Jewell.

Jewell was born on Nov. 15, 1920, in Dorset, in Ashtabula County, according to information sent by his family. Mr. Jewell’s parents, Dale and Alice, owned a family farm. In his youth, Jewell kept busy milking cows, plowing and working the farm.

“I liked it, I didn’t mind it,” Jewell said. “It was kind of my duty. When you are young, you want to do all the stuff. My dad always said ‘take your time, there will be plenty of time to work when you start working.’ I didn’t know any different, but I didn’t think I was doing anything too important.”

Jewell had two siblings, Russell and Joyce, who were 10 and 12 years his junior respectively.

According to information sent by the family, Mr. Jewell’s parents leased him out to another farmer who needed help, and were paid $12.50 a month.

When asked by a relative what he listened to on the radio when he was growing up, he responded that “we didn’t have electricity until I was 17.” The family bought its first tractor in 1942, after Jewell went into the Navy.

Jewell said he met his wife, Marian, through a friend, after he had graduated from high school. Marian’s parents Wilmer and Marian Roseberry lived at 2532 E. Aurora Road, where Burger King is now.

“I came home and was told we have a new girl in school, a nice girl, everyone likes her,” Jewell said. “A couple days later, a friend asked me if I had a car he could use for a date. ‘I don’t have a car, do you have one? If you can drive us, I’ll get you a date with the new girl in town.’ So that’s how it started, and we kept right on.”

They were married Dec. 21, 1941, two weeks after Pearl Harbor. Jewell joined the Navy a few months later, where he was stationed at Pearl Harbor. He worked on submarines when  they came in for maintenance from the Pacific Fleet. Mr Jewell even worked on the submarine USS Cod, now a museum ship docked in Cleveland's North Coast Harbor, on North Marginal Road, near the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Jewell said he served about 3 ½ years without leave.

After the war

In 1945, after the war, Jewell and his wife moved into an apartment in Twinsburg; shortly after, her parents bought another home on Church Street, and Stanford and Marian purchased her parents’ old home on East Aurora Road. The couple had three children, Mark, Michael and Jill. Mark currently lives in Iowa, Michael in Texas and Jill Jewell Mathiew in Massachusetts.

The Jewells were married for 61 years; Marian Jewell died in 2002.

Jewell left his machine shop job in Cleveland shortly after returning home from the war and joined his father-in-law in opening a gas station, the Roseberry-Jewell Service Station, on the northeast corner of Darrow and Ravenna roads. A few years later, Jewell would take over operations at the service station while Wilmer Roseberry would go on to open Roseberry’s Department store. Roseberry also started the Twinsburg Bulletin.

Michael Jewell shared one of his fondest memories with his father around the holidays.

“For some reason I was always an early riser, so I was always up first,” Michael said. “Every Thanksgiving and Christmas, him and I would hop in the car and we’d drive down, especially after snowfall, he’d drive by real slow. We’d drive by the gas station and make sure everything was OK. But we’d just drive around real slow. Back then, there was no traffic. It was a father-young son bonding moment. Just the quietness, stillness of 1950s Twinsburg. He wouldn’t say a word, I wouldn’t say a word, it was just the two of us driving around town, enjoying the quiet moments.”

Thanksgiving when he was growing up, Jewell said, “was usually at an aunt or uncle’s place.”

“It was a chance to meet the cousins, play games,” Jewell said. “The games depending on weather. With ball games, we choose up sides. It gave us a chance to get together. Not everybody had a car. It’s not as easy then as it is now. Getting together was pretty special.”

In the early 1960s, Jewell took over a new Sohio Gas Station across the street, according to information provided by his family. The new Sohio Station, which was where Walgreens is now, had two bays and two sets of pumps, while the old service station only had one bay and one set of pumps.

“That was they called them service stations, and they were service stations,” Jewell said. “We pumped the gas, cleaned the windshield. Sometimes, someone would point out a bug I missed on the windshield. Sometimes we checked the tires and oils. We had to be friendly. It seemed as if there was a gas station on every corner, so there was a lot of competition. It was a small town, everyone was good to me, so I did all right.”

Jewell said that one man whom he gave his first job to at the service station would go on to become president of BP Oil in the United States.

“Steve Percy, his parents were friends of mine,” Jewell said. “I gave him a job in the gas station. He always said he got his start in the oil business because of me.”

In addition to his work at the Sohio service station, which he sold in the mid 1970s, Jewell joined the Twinsburg Fire Department in the early 1950s. The fire department then used the Old Ford Fire Truck, the Buffalo Pumper and the Tanker. Jewell said he couldn’t recall what the pay was, but everyone’s paycheck was turned back in to purchase new equipment. He served as a member of the Twinsburg Volunteer Fire Department from 1951 to his retirement in 1974.

Jewell also was active in the Twinsburg Historical Society. Marian was one of the charter members of the historical society, and Jewell joined shortly after its start, and even served as a trustee.

One story the family shared was during open house at the Twinsburg Historical Society. Jewell liked to lay old tools on a table and have guests try to figure how how they were used. On one of those occasions, a couple of men had picked up a rectangular board with a “v” shape cut out into each end.

“They were discussing what it might have been used for, one was arguing it was a guide for cutting wood and the other insisting it was used to help remove your boots at the end of a hard day,” the family wrote in a biography compiled about Jewell and shared with the Twinsburg Historical Society. “Stanford walked over and told them, ‘Oh,this one belongs to me, I use this to wrap my extension cord around for storage.’”

Carpentry and lawn care

One thing Jewell was known for around Twinsburg was his carpentry and yardwork. He worked for the Twinsburg Banking Co. working on projects at the building. It started when Robert Richner, who worked at the bank called Jewell about building a wall for the bank. This led to other projects at the building.

“Next thing I knew they gave me a Twinsburg Banking Co. Van,” Jewell said. “I guess they hired me.”

Jewell retired from working at the bank, which had been sold a few years previously, in 1991, when he was 72.

However, he would continue doing work around the historical society.

“I did quite a bit there,” Jewell said. “For a while, I did the landscaping and taking care of things like that, kept things spruced up. I guess I did all right because a lot of people say they wish I were still there. I wish it too.”

He did the lawn for the Twinsburg Historical Society until he was “around 90,” said Katie Tanner, resident services director at Hudson Grande.

“I started to lose my balance,” Jewell said. “I fell down several times at the museum when I did outside work. Several times, there were people who were driving by who saw me fall, and they’d stop and help me back up. Everybody always treated me very well.”

Another activity Mr. and Mrs. Jewell enjoyed was square dancing.

“That was one of the best things I did, I think,” Jewell said. “I enjoyed it. The nicest people were square dancers. Everyone was friendly and helpful when you were learning, and it was good exercise, besides.”

Michael Jewell said that his father had to stop square dancing at 94. “He was just a real active man.”

Jewell “was always a good listener, caring and empathetic,” said Michael Jewell.

“I learned how to treat people by being around him,” Michael said. “All his friends he hung around with are long gone, but he was lucky, he was active enough that he has friends in their 80s, 70s, 60s, 50s and 40s. Growing up in Twinsburg was a wonderful thing back in the 50s. it was a nice-sized town. It was cool to have your dad own a gas station. Also, with him working at the fire department, you know where he was when the sirens went off. He’s just a wonderful man all the way around. He’s still the same guy.”

Michael said that when he was younger, his father was rarely home but when he was, he was always willing to listen.

“I’d ask a question, and he’d just sit there and wait, and I would wait for an answer,” Michael said. “Finally, he would probably say ‘ well, do you think it’s OK?’ I’d say ‘yeah, I think so.’ I think I’m still waiting for a few answers from him,” he added and chuckled.

The Twinsburg Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 4929 honored Stanford Jewell who turned 100 on Nov. 15. He was a charter member of the Twinsburg VFW.

Joe Jasany, the commander of the Twinsburg VFW Post 4929, said that Jewell was active with the post until about five years ago. He is a member and former trustee of the First Congregational Church of Twinsburg and a charter member of the the Twinsburg VFW, Jasany added.

“Stan would make all the Memorial Day parades,” Jasany said. “ What I remember about Stan is he was always there. He was always at meetings until about 95, when he started to fall and couldn’t drive at night anymore. Home Depot had fixed up Stan’s House, and they couldn’t believe how agile and active he was. The manager still calls about him, asking how he is doing.”

Jasany said that Jewell also helped with the First Congregational Church of Twinsburg, United Church of Christ.

Audrey Kancler, a trustee with the Twinsburg Historical Society, said she knew Jewell “as I was growing up in Twinsburg.”

“He would have been Mr. Jewell then, someone in my parents’ generation,” Kancler said. “He was a nice, rather quiet man. But then I moved back to Twinsburg in 2002, and I soon began to appreciate what a unique, and ageless, person he is.”

Kancler said that Jewell “is interested in everything and everyone.”   

“Until the last few years, I don’t know that he had time for all he wanted to do,” Kancler said. “He was past 90 and still, all on his own, was keeping up the grounds of the historical society. He made it look as if we paid a professional landscaping team.  If we complimented him he would shrug his shoulders and say ‘Well, I was done with lunch and figured I could take a nap or trim some bushes, and the bushes won.’”

Mr Jewell usually “had a good - and usually short - story about everything,” Kancler said.  

“He said he was a good runner in high school, won medals at the state level, I believe, because, living on a farm, he’d had so much practice chasing cows,” Kancler said. “Their boys basketball team in Dorset played at the town hall and learned to be careful. The room was heated by a pot-bellied stove that stuck out onto the basketball court.”

Jewell said that in all, he had “ a lot of good memories.”

“Everyone was good to me and I tried to be good to them,” Jewell said. “I never minded working. I liked every job I ever had. I never got up in the morning thinking ‘oh no, I have to go to work.’ I’m lucky I got to do what I wanted to do.”

Reporter April Helms can be reached at ahelms@thebeaconjournal.com.