“We’re long livers,” Monica says of herself and her father, who lived to be 93 years old. Monica Fitzpatrick, a resident at Chapel Pointe, celebrated her 100th birthday on Friday, Aug. 2, 2019, with cake among family and friends.
Monica was born in 1919 in Shamokin, Pa. Her father, Andrew Mihalik, and mother, Emma Elko, had six children together: Emma, Cyrilla, Monica, Alma, Leo, and Eugene. As a young girl, Monica spent much of her time in church, working around the house, sewing, and playing cards with friends. Monica remembers, “We just kept it all together. We were a nice family. We had a nice home.”
Monica’s sewing skills and eye for decorating separated her from being someone who could sell fabric at Moser’s Department Store and gave her the opportunity to begin a personal design business. She consulted with the clients then picked the colors, fabric, and design and custom made draperies and slip covers for their furniture.
The one thing that means the most to Monica in life is hard work. Even at a young age, Monica learned to be content with what she had and to work hard in all that she did. Her husband, Richard Wheeler, was a Pennsylvania State Police Officer and Monica was determined to work hard as a wife and mother to their four sons, Richard “Andy”, Jim, Bill, and Mike. After her husband passed away in June 1973, at 57 years old, she worked at J.C. Penny to provide for her herself (as her sons had all grown and moved out), and 13 years later, married family friend and police officer Richard Fitzpatrick.
Monica knows she has been greatly blessed and she is fortunate to have cherished her blessings for 100 years. Monica raised four successful boys, took care of her father, her husband, and often a brother, Eugene, who would come to town. According to Monica, her secret to living a long life is “nothing spectacular. I just live simply and work hard.”