Wildwood resident celebrates birthday with 100 balloons

Kelly Madden, middle, watches a balloon float to the ceiling during a 100th birthday party at American House Wildwood on July 17.

A decade ago, the family of beloved grandmother Kelly Madden wanted to celebrate her life in a special way. Ed Primeau, her grandson, began giving Madden a balloon for each year in her age. On July 17 the tradition continued, and Madden found her senior living home, American House Wildwood in Wildwood, decorated in 100 colorful balloons covering the ceiling.

Madden was born and raised in Bay City, Michigan, with her younger sister. After high school she worked at a cleaners as the only female employee.

When World War II broke out, Madden made pistons for engines in airplanes — when she wasn’t “playing poker with the guys just to kill time,” that is.

Madden’s husband, also named Ed Primeau, perished in a work fire at 39 years old. Madden said women were limited to the jobs they could hold at that time in history, and she had no interest in cleaning houses or selling real estate. But Madden needed work to support her family.

Instead of taking a job that she didn’t want, Madden did something even better: She started her own business.

Read this story and many others in Sunday’s edition of the Daily Sun.