THE CENTURY MARK

A woman who devoted her life to learning and teaching will celebrate her 100th birthday Sunday.

Miriam EuDaly began her lifelong career of teaching and helping others in 1933 when she decided to pursue her education at Indiana Central College, now the University of Indianapolis, with a two-year degree in teaching.

“She was constantly trying to teach everybody,” said EuDaly’s granddaughter, Karen EuDaly.

While looking for a teaching position, EuDaly was told most schools were requiring a bachelor’s degree in education, so EuDaly returned to school in 1939, this time to Indiana State Normal School in Terre Haute, now known as Indiana State University. She graduated in 1939 with a bachelor’s degree.

EuDaly’s first teaching job was in 1940 for the third grade at Washington School on South Walnut Street in Seymour. The school closed many years ago but the building on the southwest side of the city has been converted into office space.

In addition to her teaching job, EuDaly worked as a clerk in the hardware department at Sears, Roebuck & Co. in downtown Seymour. It was there she met Marcus EuDaly, the man she eventually married in 1943.

A problem, however, arose through a clause in the standard teaching contract of the time that prohibited teachers from marrying. If they did, they had until the end of the present teaching year, then they would not have their contracts renewed.

“They wanted you to be homemakers at the time,” said EuDaly, who now lives at Lutheran Community Home in Seymour.

Her husband started his own typewriting business, Seymour Typewriter Exchange, in their home on East Tipton Street.

“But that was around the time the war broke out, and there was all that out there at Freeman Field. That all changed after that,” she said in reference to the establishment of Freeman Army Airfield in 1942. The base would serve as a training center for twin engine aircraft until 1946 when it was closed.

The clause was removed from the teaching contracts, and in 1944, EuDaly began teaching again, this time at Clara D. Carter Township school, where many children from families at Freeman Field attended.

EuDaly continued to teach for 11 years when the Seymour city school system consolidated with Jackson Township schools in 1955, becoming Seymour Community Schools.

She was then hired as a speech and hearing therapist for the school system.

“She always spoke very plainly and enunciated everything because of working with them,” Karen EuDaly said.

EuDaly and her husband retired to Florida in 1968. But after the passing of her husband in 1976, she moved back to Indiana and resumed teaching, this time at Southport Presbyterian Christian School in Indianapolis.

Through the Christian school, EuDaly learned of the need for Christian education in other parts of the world.

She traveled to Ecuador, in the northwestern part of South America, and taught for five years through the One Mission Society while helping build and develop a school.

“I loved working with the locals and was able to help the Ecuadorians. They were strong Christians, and we helped build a good life,” EuDaly said.

Over five years, EuDaly worked to teach and develop the community, including a seminary school, before returning to Indianapolis, then Cincinnati in 2002 to be closer to her son, Ronald EuDaly.

In 2009, EuDaly moved back to Seymour after the passing of her son to be closer to her granddaughter, her two grandchildren and her four great-great-grandchildren.

In 2010, she moved to Lutheran Community Home. That’s where she will be celebrating her 100th birthday surrounded by family and friends.

EuDaly says she has mixed feelings about her 100th birthday, and her only advice about a long life is “live the right kind of life.”

Her granddaughter said she is certain her grandmother has done just that.

“Even now, I get people who hear my last name and say, ‘Hey, I had a schoolteacher with that name,’ and I say back, ‘Yep, that’s my grandmother,’” Karen EuDaly said.

Author photo
Aaron Piper is a photographer and reporter for The (Seymour) Tribune. He can be reached at apiper@tribtown.com or 812-523-7057.