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5-generation family has strong Middletown roots' ‘I love this little town ... it’s a great little town’

By Dan Miller

danmiller@pressandjournal.com

717-944-4628
Posted 1/23/19

For one Middletown family, the short distance between Catherine and Race streets now spans five living generations.

On Dec. 8, Hunter Albright and his girlfriend, Zoie Petrie of Catherine Street, …

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5-generation family has strong Middletown roots' ‘I love this little town ... it’s a great little town’

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For one Middletown family, the short distance between Catherine and Race streets now spans five living generations.

On Dec. 8, Hunter Albright and his girlfriend, Zoie Petrie of Catherine Street, had their first child, Knox Wellington Albright.

The very next day, Dec. 9, was the 90th birthday of Jean Murray, who lives on Race Street and is Knox’s great-great-grandmother.

Four living generations in one family isn’t all that uncommon. But five living generations? That’s something to crow about.

“There’s 90 years between the child and the great-great-grandparent,” said Tom Gray, who is married to Hunter’s mother — and now little Knox’s grandmother — Jennifer. They live on Spruce Street.

In fact, of the five living generations, all but one call Middletown home.

The only one that doesn’t is Jennifer’s mom, Knox’s great-grandmother Rae Ann Pfautz. She graduated from Middletown Area High School in 1969 but married a state trooper and moved to Lebanon.

Jennifer, Rae Ann’s only child, had lived in Middletown long enough to go to Grandview Elementary. After Jennifer graduated from high school in Lebanon, she decided to move back to Middletown.

“This was where my mom’s family was” from, Jennifer said. “This was where my roots were. This was where my family was. This was all I knew.”

Jean Murray, the matriarch of this five-generation clan, has never lived anywhere else but Middletown.

She was born and raised in a house in the 300 block of East High Street next door to where she lives now. The house she lives in now is the one her father used to live in.

“They are the only two houses she has ever been in for 90 years,” Tom Gray said. Jean Murray had four brothers and sisters, but she is the only one still living.

Jean Murray saw newborn Knox for the first time on Christmas night, when the whole family descended upon Jean’s house on Race Street.

“She was thrilled,” Jennifer said, although Jean had also been clamoring to see the baby ever since he had been born.

“She wanted the baby there like the day he came home from the hospital,” Jennifer said of her grandmother. “‘I want to hold that baby, I want to see that baby … where’s Knox?’”

Jean has a 90-year-old body but her mind is sharp as a tack, Tom Gray said.

“She knows more about this town than you can imagine,” he said.

Hunter Albright, the fourth living generation and Knox’s new father, went to Middletown schools through eighth grade and then went to Dauphin County Technical School for grades 9 through 12.

He met Zoie at the school.

Hunter graduated from Dauphin County vo-tech with an HVAC certification — heating, ventilation, air-conditioning. He has a job in that field, Tom said.

Asked why so many in this five-generation family have always called Middletown home, Jennifer Albright, who works at Middletown Area High School, said, “This is all we know. This is what we know … small-town America. I love this little town. It’s a great little town.”