The Berks-Mont News (

93-year-old Topton resident votes for first time

By Roxanne Richardson, For Journal Register News Service

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Grace Schantz, Topton, celebrated her 93 birthday on Nov. 6 by fulfilling a grand wish to take an active part in the Presidential election for the first time in her life.
Growing up in East Greenville, Schantz said her father never voted, but her mother voted regularly under strong encouragement of her employer at that time. Her mother worked in a cigar factory two blocks from where they lived. Schantz’s late husband, Frederick, was also an avid voter.
“I just thought it was too dumb that I didn’t vote and it was on my birthday and I just got the inspiration that I wanted to vote,” said Schantz.
Her son, Tom Schantz, may have helped make that decision a little easier. For the past four years, Tom has been working in his precinct operating the machines for every local and primary election. He said she found it fascinating.
“I was surprised when she said maybe I’ll vote,” said Tom. “She knew Election Day was her birthday; that helped.”
Currently residing at The Lutheran Home at Topton, Schantz said it got her thinking after she had kidded about having people vote for her birthday. She watched the debates and realized there were things she did not like about Mitt Romney.
“I didn’t like the way he smirked one time when Obama was making his speech. He just had that sort of a smirk on his face and I didn’t like how he handled other stuff,” said Schantz. “I didn’t like how he used and abused money.”
“It wasn’t just his smirk, but it was also sort of, I guess, his smugness in her mind,” said Tom. “She was telling me that she didn’t like the way he hid money, meaning off shore.”
Schantz likes President Obama’s wife, Michele, and their girls. She likes when they have a nice family and feels a good family will often pass on good ideas.
Although Schantz wishes she had voted in the past, she plans on participating in the next election.
“If I’m here. I’ll be 97 then,” said Schantz.