A big part of Pearl Fletcher’s life has revolved around Central Christian Church.

In her 62 years of membership at the Seymour church, she was a Sunday school teacher for 25 years and an office angel for a number of years, and she has been a longtime member of Loyal Devoir Society, a women’s social and service group.

The lifelong Seymour resident, who turns 85 today, credits part of her longevity to her faith.

“It just makes me feel good to know that I have a Lord up there that cares for me and someday I’ll be with,” Fletcher said.

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She has passed on the importance of religion to her family.

“She was very influential on the religious aspects of my life,” said one of her granddaughters, Megan Welch. “She was always coming to pick me up to go to church, and I was always her sidekick. We would hang out, and she taught me the aspects of the Bible.”

Fletcher said she’s glad to see her family follow her faith.

“They all know how I feel,” she said. “They all know if I don’t like what they do, I’ll tell them.”

Fletcher was born April 4, 1930, in Seymour. She and her six siblings — three brothers and three sisters — grew up in a home on Highlawn Avenue.

She attended the Clara D. Carter school through eighth grade before moving on to Shields High School and graduating in 1948.

After high school, she began working for Capital Finance in downtown Seymour. She was there 10 years before moving on to Associates Financial Services for 27 years.

She was the branch manager until the Seymour office closed, and then she worked at the Bedford office for a few years until it closed. She finished out her last six years with the company at the Bloomington office, and she also lived there during that time.

In both jobs, Fletcher’s work involved making loans to people. The summer after her junior year of high school, she said one of her teachers helped her get a part-time job in that field, and she liked it.

“I felt like I was helping people,” she said. “Working with the public, I liked that. Being with the public, and also the finance part of it, I enjoyed that. I learned a lot of it in school. It was mainly math, and then the people skills came along.”

In 1948, she married Bert Fletcher. They were married 38 years when he died in 1986.

They met when Pearl was 16. After spending a Sunday afternoon together at Rok-Sey Roller Rink in Seymour, they left in separate cars. One of Bert’s friends was driving the car in which Pearl was riding, and a drunk driver smashed into their vehicle, causing it to hit a tree.

Bert took Pearl to the hospital in his car, and she said she was lucky to have no serious injuries.

A year later, they began dating.

“He just kept after me to go out with him, and when I was 17, I finally did,” Pearl said.

When they got married, Bert was working at Arvin Industries as a welder. Before that, he spent time serving as a master sergeant with the U.S. Army in World War II.

“He was good to his mother,” Pearl said of Bert. “He was good to his kids and enjoyed kids. If anybody needed help, they could always count on him to help them.”

They lived on Third Street for about 13 years before moving to the corner of Westgate and Vehslage roads for 20 years.

In 1995, Fletcher hit the retirement age of 65. She already had several hobbies, including crocheting and reading, but retirement gave her even more time to enjoy them.

Her sister, Joann, taught her how to crochet.

“I tried to learn it before, but she was really good it,” Fletcher said. “She was left-handed, so when she faced me, I was right-handed, so I just picked it up really easy that way.”

Fletcher made afghans, kitchen towels and other items.

“It kept my hands busy,” she said. “I don’t do it anymore because my hands won’t let me. My wrists get sore. I did it probably 20 years.”

During retirement, she also liked reading books about the Civil War and taking care of her grandchildren.

She remained active with Order of the Eastern Star, too. For 33 years, she was a member of that women’s group associated with the Masonic Lodge.

She also continued to be involved in her church.

“My parents took me there when I was little, and then I got involved in it when I was in high school,” she said of Central Christian. “Then after my children came along, I wanted them to get involved in the church, so we’ve been going ever since.”

She did office work on Fridays during her time as an office angel; served the church through Loyal Devoir; and led Sunday school activities for children and watched them grow up through the church.

Since she now uses a walker to get around and no longer has a car, a van comes by her house to take her to church.

The Fletchers had three children. Their son, Steven Fletcher, is vice president at Seymour Manufacturing; their daughter, Leah Pfeiffer, is retired from Wal-Mart Distribution Center; and another daughter, Annette Atwood, is deceased.

Pearl also has 10 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, and two brothers and one sister are still living — brothers in Greenwood and Missouri and sister in Seymour.

Fletcher said it’s nice to have a lot of her family close by. They get together around holidays, and they had a big party when she turned 80.

Fletcher said she isn’t sure what her family has planned for her 85th birthday. She said she’s happy to have “made it another year.”

“I think my health,” she said of what has helped her live a long life. “Even though I’m using this walker, my health is pretty good.”

Welch said she is looking forward to celebrating her grandmother’s 85th birthday.

“I think it’s wonderful,” Welch said. “Just all the good times that we’ve had, I’m glad she’s still here. She has definitely been a big part in everybody’s life — in our family, friends and church.”

Fletcher file

Name: Pearl Fletcher

Age: Turns 85 today (born April 4, 1930)

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Seymour

Education: Shields High School (1948)

Occupation: Capital Finance (10 years); Associates Financial Services (27 years)

Hobbies: Crocheting, reading, taking care of her grandchildren and going to Central Christian Church (62-year member)

Family: Husband, Bert Fletcher, who died in 1986 after 38 years of marriage; children, Steven Fletcher, Leah Pfeiffer and Annette Atwood (deceased); six siblings (two brothers and one sister still living); 10 grandchildren; and 17 great-grandchildren

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Zach Spicer is a reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at zspicer@tribtown.com or 812-523-7080.