Even at 98 years old, woman eager to join DAR chapter
MALTA At 98, Bertha Gordinier of Malta is the newest as well as the oldest member of the local Daughters of the American Revolution chapter.
Gordinier joined the Saratoga Chapter of the DAR last month after her family’s lineage was traced to Pvt. Thomas Lape, who fought as part of the 10th Albany Militia Regiment.
Gordinier said she had never made the effort to join the patriotic group before, but when her daughter, Linda Lewis, encouraged her, she agreed.
Lewis, of Clifton Park, said her mother’s older sister had researched the family tree more than 50 years ago and found a seven-generation connection to Lape.
“My aunt never joined but when we were cleaning out my mother’s house a few years ago, we found the paperwork,” Lewis said.
After settling her mother into an assisted living home and retiring from nursing, Lewis decided to update the documentation through the New York State Museum archives and the Internet and joined the DAR.
“What was needed for documentation to join in the ‘50s isn’t quite enough today,” she said. “Once I was in, my mother could use my information to join very easily.”
Saratoga Chapter Regent Marion Walter said Gordinier bumped longtime member Georgiana Schielke of Clifton Park as the chapter’s most senior member.
“Georgiana is 95 and still coming up with new information about her genealogy,” Walter said.
She said the DAR supports local schools, scholarships and literacy programs as well as welcoming new citizens.
“We participate in the 4th of July ceremonies at the Saratoga National Historical Park when new citizens are sworn in,” she said.
Walter said the local chapter will celebrate its 115th anniversary in September.
“We love to welcome new members,” she said.
The chapter’s newest member, Gordinier, was born on Feb. 11, 1911, and spent her childhood in rural Rensselaer County before moving to North Troy with her family when she was in high school.
She graduated from Lansingburgh High School in 1929 and immediately went to work as a bookkeeper for the Grand Union Tea Co. in Troy.
“They said they were going out of business one day and I went to find another job on my lunch hour,” she said. “I went to work for an insurance company and was never out of a job.”
Gordinier said her first job as a small child was taking her neighbor’s cows out into the pasture from the barn.
“I got five cents a day,” she chuckled.
Gordinier said although she has lived a long time, she has no great adventure to report. “I never did anything exciting, it was all humdrum,” she said.
Lewis said her mother has always worked hard and been very active.
“My great-grandmother lived into her 90s and my grandmother was 98 when she died,” Lewis said. “My mother still likes to walk and enjoys reading.”
These days her favorite activity is rocking in the shade with a good book.
“I’ve gotten more interested in history lately, I never cared much about it before,” she said.