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Centenarian Bromfield cook gets diploma

UPI News Service, 02/28/2013 

The former cook for author Louis Bromfield -- a 106-year-old woman from Pennsylvania -- will soon receive her high school diploma, officials said.

Reba Williams, who cooked for Bromfield at Malabar Farm in Lucas, Ohio, from 1943 to 1957, never graduated from Mount Vernon High School, although she completed all 12 years, the Mansfield (Ohio) News Journal reported Thursday.

Her daughter, Lavata Williams, said Reba refused to read a book a teacher assigned, even though the school gave her the option of reading it during the summer and writing a report in exchange for her diploma.

"[Reba] said the book was not worth reading and she'd already read it once and didn't like it and wasn't going to read it again," her daughter said.

On Feb. 18, the Mount Vernon Board of Education made a motion to grant Reba Williams a diploma after Fred Dailey, a Mount Vernon resident who served for 16 years at the director of the Ohio Department of Agriculture, and his wife approached the board about the issue after reading a News Journal story about Williams earlier this year.

"It seemed like a nice thing to do and although I never knew her personally it seemed like something that was overdue," Fred Dailey said.

Lavata Williams said when she told her mother about the diploma, she replied, "That's nice."

A spokeswoman for the board said arrangements have not yet been finalized for how the board will present the diploma to Williams, in person or in the mail.

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