Illinois Woman Dies at 102 — After Writing a Weekly Column for 87 Years

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By: E&P Staff

An Illinois columnist who wrote the weekly “Frogtown” feature for an astounding 87 years has died at the age of 102.

Mary Peyton Meyer did the column for The Leader-Union in Vandalia, Ill. In it, she kept track of church socials, visits from out-of-towners, and other happenings in Frogtown — a largely German-Lutheran farming community southeast of Vandalia, according to a Chicago Tribune obituary.

Meyer, who was a teacher for many years, began the column while still in high school in 1921 and continued filing it on handwritten sheets until earlier this year. Her most recent salary: $15 a week.

A 1990 Tribune story about Meyer and her newspaper feature led to an appearance on the “Tonight” show with Johnny Carson, who read some of the ostensibly “trivial” items in the column for laughs. But she wasn’t intimidated, recalled Leader-Union Publisher Dave Bell.

The “Frogtown” column is being taken over Belinda Harpster, a church secretary.

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