Centerville woman, 74, focuses on family, running

Susan Wilson has lived in Centerville for almost 44 years. In that time, she has likely run more than 44 times the distance of the city itself.

Wilson, who started running circa 1980, has completed 10 marathons and more than 30 half marathons.

She currently runs four to five miles twice a week, and eight miles once per week.

Before she took up running, Wilson said she played tennis, emphasizing that she and her husband played a lot of tennis.

The 74-year-old continues to challenge herself, and last summer joined MENSA after taking and passing their test. She also works full time, while singing with her church’s choir and serving on the deacon board.

Wilson and her husband, Bill, attend First Baptist Church of Dayton. The church recently celebrated its 200th anniversary and received a bronze Ohio historical marker.

She is also a big fan of Wright State basketball, Cincinnati Reds, Ohio State Buckeyes, and Cleveland Browns.

Wilson loves to travel, and previous trips included a four-week bus tour of the British Isles in 2014, and a Mediterranean cruise in 2018.

“Our favorite place is Traverse City, MI,” she said. “We have been going there every year since 2000. We also went camping there with the kids.”

The next adventure for the Wilson family is a trip to Alaska, which will also include a cruise.

Wilson’s advice for staying active is simple.

“Just do it, she said. “The more you keep moving around, the more you are able to move around.”

More about Wilson:

Tell us about your family: Married to William R. Wilson III (Bill) for married 52 years. The couple has two children and 8 grandchildren.

Favorite memory of your hometown: From childhood — All the neighborhood kids out playing (in the street!). Family vacations — NCR shut down the first two weeks in August, and we always went somewhere — Yellowstone, Grand Canyon, Washington D.C., Traverse City, MI. Also, when I was 11, my father bought a boat and joined the NCR Water Sports Club. We all learned to water-ski, and my brother and I were in some local water-ski shows.

How has aging affected your daily life:  A lot more aches and pains, but I feel quite blessed that I’m basically in good health and can still get around fairly well.

What is your favorite activity:  Spending time with family, puzzles, travel and running. I’ve completed 10 marathons, and am still running half-marathons.

How long do you plan to work or how long have you been retired? In 2014, I turned 65. A week later, I hit 40 years of civil service at Wright Patterson Air Force Base. Three days after that, I retired. A few months after that, I got a call asking if I would be interested in a part time job as a contractor at the base, and I took it. After three years, that job was eliminated, but before it ended, I was offered a full-time job, and took that. Still working.

How do you stay fulfilled in retirement:  Since I’m still working, I do get a sense of accomplishment and feel that I contribute to the mission. I also am very active in my church — choir, deacon board. I’m most proud of my family — children and grandchildren, the people they have become, and follow their activities and accomplishments. My husband and I enjoy watching movies and TV series, going out to dinner, visiting the kids, and the occasional adult beverage establishment.

Biggest challenge of being a senior citizen: Probably health concerns — but again, I feel very fortunate to be in good health for my age.

Biggest reward of being a senior citizen: We feel very fortunate to be financially comfortable.

Most satisfying part about life today: Again, I’m very thankful that I’m healthy and can do most of the things I enjoy. I’m very thankful to have a wonderful husband (going on 53 years) — we support each other’s interests. Also, we’re very fortunate to have the means to help our children and grandchildren — vacations, college costs, etc.

What does the future hold for you: I hope to just keep on doing what I’ve been doing, and be there for my family.

Best advice for individuals 60 years and older:  Enjoy every day, and don’t sweat the small stuff.

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