MARYVILLE, Mo. — Lois Derr has been a member of the American Legion Auxiliary Unit No. 256 of Maitland for 73 years and friends and family celebrated with her on Tuesday at Oak Pointe Assisted Living in Maryville.

In 1946, only four years after the founding of the Auxiliary unit, Derr joined the organization and began serving her community and country.

“I had a brother in the service at that time and that made me eligible,” she said.

Fellow Auxiliary member Rosalea Smith said up until last winter, Derr still was very active in the organization and even lived at home.

“I don’t do anything now,” Derr joked. Though that hardly seems the case.

According to Smith, Derr was the editor of the Maitland newspaper and still makes time, even at 96 years old, to write her congressmen and women advocating for senior needs.

Derr said some of her favorite activities while she was active in the organization included a bluegrass festival.

She took some time off from the organization while raising her children, but went right back to it after they were grown.

Each month, when the American Legion would hold its steak supper, Derr would contribute an angel food cake for the dessert table.

Fittingly enough, Smith brought just such a cake to celebrate with Derr on Tuesday. Coffee and tea were provided and family and friends recalled memories together.

Sharon Slagle, president of the Missouri American Legion Auxiliary, presented Derr with a pin recognizing her service to the community and organization.

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