12-12-12 marks milestone for Portage County women

By Diane Smith | Staff Writer Published:

They're not 12 years old, but two area women are still celebrating a unique birthday Dec. 12, with a bit of a twist.

Jessie Pritchett of Diamond and her niece Sheri Richards of Nelson will mark their birthdays today. Both were born on December 12, and as 12/12/12 came near on the calendar, Pritchett realized that she and her niece were born on the same day -- 12 years apart.

For Richards, the similarities don't stop there. She and her cousin, Stephanie, were born on the same day in the same Toronto, Ohio hospital -- 12 minutes apart. Richards notes that her cousin was born first.

"Her mom wanted to name her Stephanie, and my mom wanted to name me Stephanie," she said. "So they said, 'Whoever is born first gets to be Stephanie.'"

Richards and Pritchett are planning quiet celebrations. Pritchett's children are throwing her a party to celebrate her 62nd birthday, and Richards and her husband, Joe, will probably celebrate her 50th birthday by decorating the Christmas tree, something that's become a tradition on her birthday.

The women will probably also celebrate together by going to lunch.

"Yay, I'll be 62," Pritchett said. "Social Security, and my pension kicks in."

Pritchett is a widow and the mother of three children. She raised her children alone after her husband died in their 20s.

"I never remarried, because I still love and miss him to this day," she said. She added that the two of them built their home together. The home was damaged by fire once, but rebuilt.

She worked for nearly 20 years as a heavy equipment operator. After she retired, she became a volunteer and eventually found work as a caregiver for seniors. She's expecting another career change in the near future.

She has a son, Chris, and daughters Tracy and Jessie, and five grandchildren. She said all are successful adults "and above all, they're good to their mom."

She comes from a large family, and most of her nieces and nephews live in the county.

"There was a baby born in our family every year for 21 years," she said.

Richards, who jokes that she raised horses instead of children, said she and her aunt have had many similarities in their lives, including both losing their homes to fire as young women. Both lived in Rootstown and went to Rootstown schools and Maplewood Career Center. And both enjoy taking spur- of-the-moment road trips.

"We've both traveled across the country several times," she said.

Richards works as a Teamster in Cleveland, driving construction trucks for the I-90 innerbelt bridge and the Medical Mart convention center projects.

Contact this reporter at 330-298-1139 or dsmith@recordpub.com

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  • Happy Birthday Aunt Jessie and Aunt Ree! We love you here in VA and miss you very much. Love Rochelle, Todd, Baby Jaycen, Chloe, Tracie and Lorne.