Gene + Anita Pitts | Milan, IN

Gene & Anita, married for 53 years. 

How they met

Anita “Through a friend. I was working at Keillor’s and a co-worker introduced us. I was a senior in high school and he was a sophomore at Purdue. He came in to get a cup of coffee and talked to me and flirted. It worked!”


Anita “He was a sweetheart, just smiley and friendly. All the girls were talking about him. Where I worked, a lot of his friends and neighbors, they’d come in and tease me about him.”

​Gene “She was smiley and happy. And she was cute, and still is. So I thought, 

‘I think I should get to know her better.”


Anita “He gave me a necklace first, which had a heart with three teeny-tiny diamonds and I was disappointed because I was really hoping for a ring. So then he brought out another box which had the ring. We have three sons, so I figured a diamond for each of them.”

Secret to a successful marriage

Gene “Loving each other. You put your relationship above yourself.”

Anita “I want to make him happy. I want to do things with him. I enjoy him. So it’s a lot of togetherness. We share the same interests - we like to travel, do gardening, the outdoors, we do dishes together. I didn’t care too much about sports when we first got married, but I learned to like them. He takes me out to a girl movie now and then, and he survived. We’re Christians, so our faith has given us a lot of strength. We never ever disagree about discipline in front of the children. We were a team when it comes to parenting.”

Patty Studt | Sunman, IN

Patty came to United States when she was 13 years old with her parents and 3 siblings. At the time, no one spoke English except her dad, a electrical engineer with King Records. Her father chose Cincinnati because he wanted his children and family to blend into the culture and learn the language. 

​Patty retired as the Librarian Assistant in the Osgood / Milan Public Library. “I love working in the library because we’re helping the community by making a difference. Knowledge is power.”

​What do you love about Ripley County?

“The people are non-pretentious, down-to-earth and friendly. And for those reasons, I love Indiana small towns even more.”

Ralph Hochstetler | Batesville, IN

“In 2010, retirement came along and knowing that I would have a lot of free time, I decided to join a gym in Batesville. I had never been athletic or inclined to do anything like that, but my mother was going through some health issues which helped to motivate me to not get myself in the same situation as her. Diabetes runs in my family, so I knew I had to do something. I started walking with a little short run in between, then I got to the point where I could run for a couple of miles without stopping, then it led to 3 miles, 6, 10 and so forth. 

​I’m a big fan of Disney. In 2013, there was an opportunity to do a 5K at Disney World’s Animal Kingdom at night and I thought, ‘This is gonna be my first try at an official race.’ As that was my first run, little did I know that it was also a challenge course! I made through all the obstacles in good time. So from that point on, I’ve participated in many other runs, such as the 5K in Indianapolis for The Colts, Mud Stash at The Perfect North, and not forgetting the virtual races - they’re races which you sign up and run at your own pace; my favorite was the Solar Eclipse 5K run in 2017. 

​I give credit to my mom, she persevered until she was 91. She was my reason to work on my health and I made her pretty proud too. 

​What I want to say is you can start running even at an older age. Take baby steps, change your diet, work out a little. You can do some changes and make your life easier and better. I have a 5 year old granddaughter who still runs me ragged, I don’t know if I can keep up with her if I hadn’t done this.”

Ashley Gardner | Osgood, IN

“I’m a person with many hobbies. Creativity, I think is really important. I love music - I play the guitar and am learning the piano and I sing a lot. Actually, I tried out for The Voice when I was 18. That was very nerve-wracking. I printed my tickets and left for Nashville, TN with my mom and stepdad. The lines were not so bad, we waited for about an hour to get in. You go through a multitude of judges and you just go up and sing 30 seconds of your chosen song. I sang ‘Bubbly’ by Colbie Caillat. After that, the judges will analyze your performance and let you know if you’re going to the next round. I did not. All this happened within 5 minutes. It was very fast. To me, it was a very good experience and my feelings were not hurt. I was just happy I had the courage to do it. It was very fun.

​My philosophy is to not be scared. Fear is just an illusion.”

Linda Guthrie | Versailles, IN

“My dad flew back in the early 1920’s and I would remember stories that he would tell about the things he did and saw. I think that planted the seed for me to wanting to fly, although the first few airplane rides just scared me to death. Back in 1978, there was a gentleman at the Career Center that was doing ground school for aviation but there wasn’t enough people signed up for it, so I didn’t get to do that.

​When I turned 50, a few of my co-workers gifted me a few flight lessons at the North Vernon airport. And after the first flight, I was hooked. It took about 1.5 years to get my license and it has been 19 years ago.”

​First flight as a pilot

“I took my friends to fly around Versailles so they can see their houses and the surrounding areas. That was a fun and special experience to share with those who have encouraged me.” 

​Feelings when you fly

“Peaceful and yet exhilarating all wrapped in one. I thank God for the opportunity to fly and for giving me the knowledge and ability to do so.”

Shirley Manning | Versailles, IN

“I have been here in the United States for 50 years. I’m originally from Newfoundland, Canada. I moved here in 1968 when I married my American sailor husband who was in the Navy. We got married at Key West, FL, then moved to Rhode Island, Lowell MA, Lexington KY and to Batesville in 1980. We moved to Versailles on Thanksgiving 1999.

​Indiana is my favorite place to live in. 

I just like the people and the way of living here. I do miss the ocean though, and that’s why I go back home every two years. 

​When my husband and I retired, we traveled all around the county. Then he had cancer and passed away. I started working at the Butternut store in Versailles and I was there for 13 years. I enjoyed meeting all the people in the community. When the store closed in 2012, I just retired altogether. I enjoy life and travel whenever I can and just have fun doing things with my friends. 

​In 2013, I went through 2 cancer surgeries - bladder and lung. The lung cancer was environmental as I have never smoked. During those trying times, my siblings came down to be here with me. That’s one great thing about my family - we are so close that all I have to do is just pick up the phone to ask for help and they’re here. The distance does not matter. 

​And if I need anything right now, I have my preacher and church family. They’re there for me.

​I’ve been through some rough times, but it all worked out. I just pray to God and He has helped me a lot. I couldn’t have done it without all of His help.”

Dr. Stephen Glaser | Batesville, IN

“I love to photograph landscapes. I like not being rushed at all - just being out there, be present and appreciate the things and beauty around you. There are so many things that we see that are really special to us. Nature is amazing - they are God’s creations. Through my lens, I want to capture the beauty out there and share what I see with other people. Most of the times, I feel the need to capture what I see as I’ll never see it again in my life, not in the same way.”

​Dr. Glaser donates all profits from the sales of his prints and digitals to the American Cancer Society in the honor of his mother, who passed away from breast cancer in 1976. “I started doing this about 10 years ago.”

Norma Roberts | Batesville, IN

​”I was born on February 1921, on Elm Street and that home is still standing today. Everyone was born in the house then.”


“My old grade school is a vacant lot now, on the corner of Pearl Street and Mulberry. And our high school is the current middle school. There was no pool across the street back then. We had the largest graduating class in 1939 - there were 60 students. My sister’s class on the following year had very few students. 

I guess ours was the boom after the World War!” 

​Secret to longevity

“It’s in our genes, I guess. My grandpa lived to be nearly 100 when he died in the 1930’s. I had an uncle on my mother’s side, he was 102. Also, we didn’t drink or smoke - my father didn’t, my brother didn’t and my grandpa didn’t.”

​Best memories of Batesville

“They used to have street dances. It’s near the bridge across the two factories near Walnut Street. It was Henry Fonza that had his old time band and dance orchestra. At that time, Sammy Kaye was popular on television - his tagline was ‘Swing and Sway with Sammy Kaye’ and Henry Fonza played through those street dances and they say it’s ‘Swing and Sweat with Henry Fonza.’”

​And they used to have a skating ring on Pearl Street by the church. They blocked the street from the church down to the school, or where the old school used to be. That’s when I was in grade school.

​Medicine shows used to come to town. I don’t know if they sell patent medicine or something, all I remember is that they used to set up across from the school now where the swimming pool is. They’d sell medicine that could cure anything.”

Donovan Freeland | Batesville, IN

Donovan and his wife, Kate moved to Batesville in 2014 in prep for retirement. They felt most fortunate to have been able to buy a simple log cabin on a six acre wooded lot. 

​When they heard that a backyard chicken coop and four birds needed a new home, they–somewhat tenuously–said “Bring ‘em!” 

​The coop was dropped off in their driveway on a cold, rainy March night. But soon, all adapted and Don built a simple fence, repaired, decorated and bolstered the coop to protect the four hens from night-time predators. The Freelands enjoy the company of “the first ladies” (and eggs!) year round.

​This is a recent capture of Don, holding “Dora” next to their backyard coop.

Nancy Broerman Raver | Batesville, IN

In 1952, Nancy won the Batesville ‘Centennial Queen’ title. 

​”It was not a beauty queen win. We had a pageant at a football field and they were selling tickets to the pageant - they used the community platform, how Batesville was founded and the wood-working. So, whoever sold the most tickets to the pageant wins the title. It was between my junior and senior year in high school. My best friend, Barb Biehl, and I sold the tickets together, and we won. So that’s how I became the ‘Centennial Queen.’

​One company came in as the sponsor and they gave me a gown to wear, a robe with fur on it and a crown. There was a dinner function one night and the governor came from Indianapolis. 

​At the pageant, the women would wear old fashion clothes and the men grew their beard as they had a beard contest. Then we had a big parade in town and I was standing on the float with my court around me, basically they’re the other girls who sold ticket too. I wore a dress that looked like a wedding gown; it had a long train and I remember my younger sister and her friends helped carrying the train. I had to give a short speech at the pageants, which went on for 3-4 nights. Maybe just, ‘Welcome to Batesville,’ or something along those lines. 

​Anyway, the main prize was a trip to New York City. So Barb and I went to New York City for one week, on a train, by ourselves. All the local stores gave me something to take to the trip - the millinery shop gave me a hat, the dress shop gave me a suit and some store gave me a luggage. 

​My best memory from the trip was the Stork Club in Manhattan. I had kept books for Kennedy Dry Company in Batesville, so when we were in New York City, a representative from the company took us to the Stork Club for lunch - it was very prestigious but I didn’t see anybody I know. Before we left on the trip, a girl’s father had told us, ‘Be sure you don’t eat your peas with a knife.’ Well, one of the dishes we ordered has peas on it. Barb and I had the giggles when we saw those peas on the plate! It was so much fun!” 

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