Title: Centenarian
Birthdate: April 1, 1902
Death Date: February 29, 2004
Plot Location: Section H, Range 3, Lot 7, east half

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Olive’s father, George, was a house painter who married her mother, Elizabeth, a dozen years before Olive was born. She had three older siblings but two died before she was 10 years old. A  younger brother was born in 1907. 

Westminster Presbyterian Church, 58th and Chester Ave., was where the family worshiped each Sunday, although their residence changed through the years, from Elmwood Park (just south of Mount Moriah Cemetery) to Kingsessing, and to the nearby suburb of Darby when Olive was 18. There she was employed by a glass manufacturer. 

George did well in his work and was able to move the family one last time to a single-family home in Abington, Montgomery County before the Great Depression arrived in 1929. Olive worked as a salesperson in a jewelry store. She became intimately involved with Joseph Robert Lannon, a previously married man who was 23 years older. They married in May of 1930 and a son, Robert Joseph Lannon, was born on September 27.

Joseph was first married in 1917, but it didn’t last long, ending in divorce. He had been a store owner but was a real estate agent when he met Olive. In 1932 she became pregnant again and a second son, Paul, was born October 1, one year and four days after his brother. The 1940 census shows the family had been living since 1935 at 2809 North Broad Street in Philadelphia with Olive’s recently widowed mother. 

The days were full of trouble after the country entered World War II, and 1942 was a year of trouble for the Lannons in particular. Paul died in May of heart disease caused by rheumatic fever. His death certificate listed their address as 1738 West Erie Street. A month later, Olive and Robert became members of the nearby Tioga Presbyterian Church, but her husband didn’t. Joseph listed a different address and a landlady as a contact person when he registered for the draft in September. His address was in Philly but the draft board where he registered was in Washington County, south of Pittsburgh.

Divorce eventually followed. The 1950 census shows Olive and Robert living in an apartment at 2111 Chestnut Street where she described her status as divorced. Joseph was living with 21 others in a boarding house at 1724 Spruce Street where he said he was widowed. Olive was the proprietor of a dressmaking business, Robert was a clerk at Acme Supermarket, and Joseph was unemployed. How much longer he lived is unknown.

"The Morning Call," Allentown PA, 3/1/2004

“The Morning Call,” Allentown PA, 3/1/2004

Olive’s mother and her younger brother both died in 1950. She continued her dressmaking business, as mentioned in this obituary. She was proud of her son Robert, who graduated from Temple University. He became an electrical engineer for General Electric in New Jersey until he retired in 1990. He and his wife had a son and two daughters. 

Olive’s long life reflects Robert’s love and care for her. She lived with him at certain times but when is not known. One record shows she was living in Trenton at some point, and her last years were spent with Robert and his family in Allentown. Loyal to his mother to the end, when he died in 1998 he was buried at Mount Moriah in the Landis family plot beside his brother.

Six years later, just two months short of her 102nd birthday, Olive breathed her last and was laid to rest with her sons. The other Landis family members here include her parents and two of her brothers, Winfield (1893-1910) and Walter (1895-1967), a veteran of World War I.

Japanese maple tree in front of a monument at Mount Moriah Cemetery

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