SOUTH BEND -- Marty Aronson, of South Bend, turned 100 last Wednesday. Amazingly, she reaches this watershed moment without being waterlogged.
Before she had to give up swimming just a few years ago, she recorded more than 7,000 miles in the YMCA pool. “But I swam a lot more than that even before I started keeping count,” she said in a 2010 interview.
When she taught second grade at Jefferson School in South Bend, she would get in about a half mile at the Y on her lunch break. “I probably came back smelling like chlorine,” she says.
Any chance she had, especially after retirement, Marty always tried to get in at least a mile at the Y pool. She even met her late husband, Moe Aronson, there. Well, sort of.
“I already knew who he was,” she says of Moe, a longtime teacher and wrestling coach at Adams High School. “But one of our
mutual friends kept trying to get us together (after they had both lost spouses). So one day at the pool, I saw Moe over on the other side of the pool. I thought, ‘You so-and-so. You’ve come here to check me out.’”
Moe apparently liked what he saw. They started dating and then married in 1975. “Moe was wonderful company,” Marty says. “And we just clicked. We loved to travel together and even though many of Moe’s students and athletes thought he was gruff, he really was a pussycat.”
Like Marty, Moe worked hard at staying in shape, too. Even into his 60s, he still could do 100 push-ups and would ride 100 miles on a bicycle in one day each summer.
He died seven years ago after they were married for 31 years. “I still miss him,” Marty says.
Like Moe, Marty was a well-respected teacher. She earned a teaching degree from Oshkosh State Teachers College in Wisconsin and later received a master’s from Indiana University. She first started teaching in her hometown of Neenah, Wis., but most of her 30 years in education were at Jefferson School in South Bend.
“I lived right across from the school on South Street so that made it easy for me,” says Marty, the oldest member of Sunnyside Presbyterian Church. “I just walked over.”
She has three children. John is retired from AM General while Mark is a microbiologist in Knoxville, Tenn. And daughter Mary Ellen retired from teaching in South Bend.
Marty now lives at the Sanctuary at St. Paul’s. “I think the main reason I lived so long is my swimming,” she says. “But I had to give that up a few years ago. I sure miss it.”
She didn’t miss hitting the century mark though.