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'I don't feel like retiring': 99-year-old secretary celebrates her 80th 'workiversary'

When Elisabeth Davis first got her current job as a secretary at a prep school in Indiana, she enjoyed it so much that she figured she would stay awhile.

That was in 1936.

Davis, 99, has reached an incredible milestone as she celebrates her 80th year as a secretary at Culver Academies in Culver, Indiana.

"I was just happy,'' Davis told TODAY. "I like what I do with records and working with everybody who's been here. It's nothing really special, I guess."

Her colleagues would beg to differ as they marvel at a career that began when Franklin D. Roosevelt was in the White House and Jesse Owens was starring in the Olympics in Berlin.

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"Having her show the rich history here at the school gives great perspective for the students to appreciate the past and the future,'' Bill Hargraves, director of strategic communications at Culver Academies, told TODAY. "Some people don't even know what FDR stands for today, and he was the president when she started!"

Culver Academies
Davis, shown during her days at Culver High School in 1931, started working at Culver Academies when Franklin D. Roosevelt was the president.

Davis got the job shortly after graduating from Culver High School in 1935, starting off with assisting the dean.

She now maintains all of the faculty information, keeping a hard copy of everything that she types up on her typewriter. The school has to order ribbon and any parts from Amazon because of the scarcity of anything typewriter-related.

"I never had a computer,'' Davis said. "I just figured that as long as I'll be here, why should I learn all that technology? I'm able to type, and that's all I need."

The biggest change she has seen during her career has been the evolving technology, all the way from the telegraph to the internet.

Culver Academies
Davis, shown here in 1983, has become a living historian of the prep school in Indiana and has no plans to retire any time soon.

"I haven't learned a lot of that, and I haven't tried to learn it,'' she said. "I figure I won't be here much longer, I guess."

The school has grown from 34 students when she started to 814 today. The only time Davis wasn't at her desk was when she took a leave of absence for a few years until her son and daughter were both in school. She is now a grandmother of six and a great-grandmother of five.

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Davis lives close to the school and gets a ride every day from co-workers.

"They're wonderful,'' she said. "They're very good to me."

She never considered getting a job anywhere else, and retirement never crossed her mind, either. After her husband of 59 years, Eldon, died in 2004, the job has helped keep her active.

"I just live day by day,'' she said. "If there comes a time when I feel like it, I will, but I don't feel like retiring."

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