She was known as "The Kid," Jane (Benedum) Meuhlen, the last known living connection to the great baseball player Cy Young, passed away Tuesday, March 29, following a two-year illness.
Meuhlen was also known as "Janie" to her many friends, and had resided in Florida for the past several years with her daughter, Ana Marie Haakinson.
Meuhlen was the daughter of John and Ruth (Robey) Benedum, and was born and raised in Peoli -- also the homeplace of the great baseball legend. Following Young's second retirement from the baseball profession, the Benedum family became Young's extended family since his immediate family members had all since been long gone.
Meuhlen said in a 1994 media interview that Young "knew me since I was born and watched me grow up. He always said I was the apple of his eye." Even though the Benedum's were not biologically related to Young, they became his "family" over the years. Young resided with the Benedums on their farm in Peoli until his death in November 1955 at the age of 88.
Nearly all of Young's family members were gone by the time Meuhlen was born in 1935. She said she always felt that Young saw her as the daughter that he never had. Young and his wife, Robba (Miller) Young, had reportedly lost an infant daughter shortly after their marriage in the 1890s and never had any other children after that.
According to the 1994 media interview, Meuhlen recalled how she had obtained her driver's license at an early age in order to be able to drive Young to baseball events around the area. She recalled also traveling with Young by train to many of the baseball games in Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, New York and Boston.
"Those were the years that I was like his shadow. I was always at his side and that's where the name, 'The Kid' came in," she said.
Meuhlen recalled also meeting many of Young's baseball friends such as Connie Mack, Tris Speeker, Honus Wagner, among many others.
She said, "By the time I was 20 years old, I probably attended more baseball games than the children of all the other professional baseball players at that time. We almost always attended the Cleveland Indians' games."
Meuhlen was a 1953 graduate of Port Washington High School and later graduated from the White Cross Hospital School of Nursing (later known as Riverside Methodist Hospital) in Columbus in 1958.
"Cy always wanted to live long enough to see me graduate as a nurse but sadly he never got to see that dream," she said.
Meuhlen was employed at several area hospitals and nursing facilities throughout her nursing career.
Final arrangements for Meuhlen were pending as of press time.