Columbus Dispatch, The (OH)

July 31, 1997

   Bernie Karsko, Dispatch Staff Reporter

Carolyn N. Lathrop considered herself a lifelong Ohio State University football fan - even though she was born two years before OSU had an organized team.

She and her husband, Thomas, lived in Upper Arlington for 56 years before moving to Oshkosh, Wis., in 1980.
Thomas Lathrop, a longtime employee of the Ohio Department of Health, died in 1982 at 95. Mrs. Lathrop died July 23, not long after celebrating her 109th birthday (on June 12).

A grandniece, Mary Carter of Milwaukee, said she could not remember Mrs. Lathrop being confined to bed until she was stricken by an unknown malady three weeks ago.

"It's really wonderful that somebody could live that long and die after spending only 10 days bedfast," Carter said.

Mrs. Lathrop enjoyed everything from opera to gardening, from Jack Nicklaus to the Buckeyes. When relatives emptied her quarters at the retirement community that was her home for 17 years, they found a big OSU scarf.

OSU records say the first organized football game the team played was against Ohio Wesleyan College on May 3, 1890. OSU won 20-14.

The Lathrops lived near Scioto Country Club, where Nicklaus learned to golf, and were customers and friends of Jack's father, Charlie, a pharmacy owner.

Mrs. Lathrop celebrated her 100th birthday by taking a sightseeing tour of Alaska.

She was born in Ripon, Wis.; attended Ripon College; and graduated from the University of Wisconsin. She taught high school science and botany in several cities.

She exercised and walked with a walker until she got sick. She attributed her longevity to her knowledge of botany and biology. She once told a writer for a Ripon College publication:

"I always knew how to take care of myself. I know about exercise and nutrition. I stay away from sweets - although I like them - and I exercise as much as possible."

She quit smoking 93 years ago at age 16.

"My mother asked me to stop," Lathrop told the writer. Not long after, her mother died of typhoid; Carolyn Lathrop never smoked again.