Seated l to r: Doris McNeese, Mary Reh, and Marcella Spears Standing: Jean Thornhill

They all changed their last name over the years, but for decades in Marengo they were known as the Wright sisters. The oldest sister, Mary Wright Reh, turned 100 on May 24. She was honored with an open house at Indian Oaks Park on May 21.

Mary lived in Marengo until 18 months ago when she moved to an assisted living facility in Rockford where she can be near her sons, grandson and their families. Carrying on the tradition of staying in their own homes, younger sisters, Marcella Wright Spears, 98, and Doris Wright McNeese, 96, live in Marengo. The youngest sister, Jean Wright Thornhill, only 86, lives farther away— in Hampshire with her husband.

At Mary’s birthday gathering they enjoyed visiting with family and friends, including many Marengo neighbors. Most of all, they enjoyed visiting with each other. “Every time we get together I learn something new about days gone by,” commented Jean Thornhill. “I’m so proud of my three sisters!”

Jean is the only sister who never lived on the family farm, where the three older girls spent their first years until Mary was 10. She heard yet another new story this time: “I never had a doll,” explained Mary, “and—Jean doesn’t know this—but when she was born she became my doll. I dressed her up and carried her everywhere.”

When asked what she thought about reaching her 100th birthday, Mary shrugged and said, “I don’t really know. It just crept up on me.”

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