Mildred Hatton wasn’t born in Bridge City, but after 70 years there she says, “I guess you might call me a native now.”

Hatton turned 90 on April 17. She was raised in Beaumont, then after becoming a bride moved to Bridge City in 1940.

You might say her husband, Roy Melvin Hatton, had a few ties to the community.

Roy Melvin’s father, Roy Moses Hatton, had gone to school in the original Prairie View Teacherage, served on the Orange County school board for many years and had Hatton Elementary named in his honor. (Roy Melvin replaced his father on the board).

Although the Rainbow Bridge’s opening in 1939 offered a new way to get to Port Arthur, Mildred remembers traveling the old country road residents took to get to the ferry.

“There was no town,” she says. “It was all just rice fields.”

She and Roy Melvin had three kids: MillaDon, Roy Michael and Mark Curtis Hatton.

Mildred often spends time with MillaDon, who’s married to Floyd Rampmaier, in Osage Valley, Ark. Mildred spoke to The Record from there while going through about 20 birthday cards forwarded from home.

Roy Melvin passed away in 1999. His brother Frank, well-known Bridge City businessman, died this past year.

Mildred spent 20 years at home raising the children, then around 1960 began a 24-year career as church secretary at St. Paul United Methodist Church. She has been a member there since 1950 and is the official church historian.

She moved on with other members to the church’s new home at 1155 W. Roundbunch Road. The old building at the corner of Texas Avenue and Roundbunch was deemed unsafe after Hurricane Rita and torn-down.

She says you get to be 90 by “enjoying life everyday and being involved with people. I’ve stayed active with church work and volunteering; I always attend church meetings and PTA meetings to help some of the kids in school. I have a wonderful life … These days you hear people talk about ‘genes’ too. My father and mother lived to be 93 and 95 and I had six brothers and sisters who all lived to be over 80. I’d say those are pretty good genes.”