Former SR teacher celebrates 105th birthday in style by meeting the Bushes - George and Barbara - in Texas

Pictured from left are Barbara Bush, Ethel Mathias, and former President George Bush in Texas. Mathias recently was granted her wish to meet the President. Barbara is holding the book written by Mathias on being a centurion. She was 105 on her birthday in January.

Wanda English Burnett

It’s never too late to have a wish granted. That has been proven by Ethel Mathias, 105, life-long resident of Versailles, now living at St. Andrews Health Campus, Batesville.

Her wish to meet former President George Bush was granted on March 3 as she flew to Texas. She also received a bonus, his wife, Barbara, was there, too.

Her wish was made a reality by the dedicated efforts of St. Andrews Health Campus and Never Too Late, an organization that helps grant wishes for the elderly.

“We were very excited to be able to play a part in such a special wish for Ms. Mathias,” noted Eileen Heffelmire, executive director at St. Andrews Health Campus. “Ms. Mathias had a great time and many lasting memories were made for all those involved.”

About meeting the former President, Mathias said, “He is a man of great integrity. It was a privilege to be able to visit with President Bush and Barbara.” She thanked St. Andrews for “an experience of a lifetime.”
Mathias flew to Texas with her granddaughter, Cathy Hamm and activities director at St. Andrews, Jannie Deaton-Haase.

With the former President using a cane as was Mathias, she commented, “Isn’t it wonderful that as we age we carry our cane, but still enjoy a full life.”

During the trip it was noted that at one point of the conversation the word dance was mentioned, as Barbara told how she and the President met. “Dance?” Barbara had the attention of her audience, Mathias, who is well known for her great love of dancing. She was intrigued even more with the couple.

“I am looking forward to my next trip, maybe to the moon, anything is possible,” Mathias concluded.
Never Too Late’s primary purpose is reaching out to people in nursing homes, assisted living facilities, hospice programs and adult day care facilities to help make their dreams and wishes come true. For more information about the organization you can visit their web site at

For more information about St. Andrews, where the oldest living retired teacher (having taught many years at Versailles schools) now makes her home, you can call 812-834-5090 or visit their web site at