Interesting People

Our Senior Citizens

By Doris Jarrett
The Lexington Progress
21 January 1998

We are proud of our senior citizens and want them to know it. They are an inspiration to us as they try to make the best of their future.

First of all, we recognize Herman Austin who will celebrate his 100th birthday in February. He is amazing – living alone, driving his car, going to Sunday School, being the oldest member of First United Methodist Church, a good neighbor and friend.

His niece, Lorraine Austin Hinson, is equally amazing. Since her high school days, she has served as pianist and organist at First United Methodist church. A light stroke last year has slowed her down a bit, but she is still there in her accustomed place. She has probably played for more weddings and funerals than anyone else. A few years ago, she had played for the wedding of at least three great-grandchildren.

Two seniors, Elizabeth Morris and Muriel Miller, are both avid bowlers, having attended the National Bowling convention in Las Vegas last year. Mrs. Morris is nearly 91 and Miss Miller, not far behind, has slowed down this past year since having heart surgery.

Dorothy Douglass may not look like a grandmother with her beauty and enthusiasm, but she does have, in addition to her three children, 9 grandchildren and several great-grandchildren. She travels, visits, is a faithful church member, a beloved baby-sitter. She attends many UT meetings and walks 3-4 miles a day.

Ernestine Sisson, the mother of Christine Rogers, was recently honored at First Baptist Church, on her 90th birthday. She has worked with Cradle Roll and Preschool Children in her church for more than 50 years.

Lorene Hatley was the surprised honoree recently when her daughters-in-law, Mrs. John Hatley and Mrs. Richard Hatley, honored her with an 80th birthday celebration at the Everett Horn Library. Lorene, retired from Lexington Electric System, stays busy with church and civic affairs. She has served for several years as president of the Deborah Sunday School Class at First United Methodist Church, arranges for a birthday party for October residents at Briarwood every year. She is on the Administrative Board of her church and chairman of Shut-in Visitations.

Vernon Rogers, though not very well lately, has continued to be an active member of First Baptist Church and Lexington Lions Club. He works part-time at a local grocery, is active at Judson Baptist Church, which he organized, preaches often and holds funerals there.

Pick Patterson, our 80 plus friend, always considerate and kind, has retired from active duties at Pafford Funeral Home, but serves in an advisory capacity for a monument organization located on the driveway near the funeral home and appropriately called Pick Anderson Drive.

Golden Singleton has been battling cancer for several years and recently lost a son, but she has so much faith she has outlived her doctor’s prognosis for survival. She was a faithful nurse-housekeeper-companion for me in my time of need.

Raymond Fesmire of Wildersville is a senior citizen who is lonely but not alone, for he has many friends and the family of his daughter, the late Ivory Mae Blankenship.

Elmer Stewart in his 90’s was recognized last year as the oldest practicing lawyer in Tennessee. With the aid of a helper, he still goes to his office uptown and is still remembered as County judge.

These people and many more are examples of taking what life sends and making the best of it.

“Our days are identical suitcases – all the same size – but some people can pack more into them than others.” -- Unknown

This group of ladies quilt regularly at the Lexington Senior Center. This particular day was 11 March 1998. The quilting room has been a source of funds since the beginning of the program. It is a very important part of the center both for the funds and for the opportunity for fellowship it offers the ladies who gather around the quilt.

There have been many ladies through the years who have spent happy hours there. Some of the ladies who are quilting now have been active since the very beginning of the program. The following ladies are regulars at the present time.

Annie Bolden quilts every day. She is from the Chapel Hill community. Her special interest, besides the work she does at the center which includes helping the Nutrition Supervisor get the Homebound Meals on the road and helping to serve lunch is checking on the sick and shut-ins. She sat with the elderly for many years.

Ramell Powers of the Presley community quilts most every day. She also helps to serve lunch. She kept children in her home before retiring and taking some time for herself. The center designates the participants according to their transportation route.

Ladies from the Crucifer and Westover area are in the center twice a week. They are involved in all the center’s activities. They especially enjoy singing in the center and at the nursing home. Naomi Whittle is a great advocate, telling everyone how much the center means when one is lonely and adjusting to being alone. Naomi worked at Westover School Cafeteria before retiring. Her hobby is piecing quilts. She is an artist with fabric. She also enjoys traveling.

Martha Donnell and Ella Mae Cawthon are charter members. They were Diamond Set members when the group met for potluck monthly at different locations in town. This was the beginning of the official organization of the Senior Center. These two often take a stroll up town, pay bills and get a little shopping done while they are here.

Jerrold Russell has been active in the center for a few years now. She also volunteers as a caller for Telephone Reassurance. This is a service offered by the center for checking on shut-ins daily at a set time to be sure they are o.k.

Inetha Pearson is the “new kid on the block” in this group having moved into the Broadway community not too long ago. She does enjoy the fellowship and activities at the center and quilts every day she is there.

Velma Anderson comes with this group one day per week and adds her handiwork to the beautiful quilts the group turns out.

From the Chesterfield community, Maxine Fortner is in the Center on Wednesday. Maxine quilts all year long and sells her beautiful quilts from her home.

The 104 route includes Louise Ballard and her sister, Clara Mae Tart. They both enjoy all center activities. Louise, Naomi, and Inetha have given beautiful pieced tops to the center for fund raising projects. Clara Mae’s granddaughter, Tammy Fish, treats the ladies in the quilting room to a large tray of goodies each Christmas. They look forward to this treat each year.

Angeline Owens is also in this group. She sometimes baby-sits and doesn’t get there every week, but she goes when she can.

In town group includes: Lessie Hawkins, who is also a charter member and until recently quilted five days a week. She has made millions of stitches over the years.

Madalene Olive quilts at the center two days and at Parkers Cross Roads one day. Her hobby is attending Gospel Singings.

Dorothy Harris is a rather new member of the group. She ran the kitchen at First Baptist Church providing delicious meals for family night and special occasions. Her hobby is crafts, she arranges centerpieces for the center’s tables.

Farice Horn grew up in the Shady Hill community. She lived away many years but has moved back home. She attends the center each Thursday and sings at Lexington Manor before quilting for a few hours. Farice’s sister, Jeanetta Lofton, of the Rock Hill community, joins her there in the afternoon to quilt a while before going shopping. She is often accompanied by Marena Todd, also of Rock Hill.

Adele Williams of the Rock Springs community is at the center on Friday. She retired from Beaver School Cafeteria. She attended the center during the summer while working. After retiring, she cared for an ailing sister for a few years. She is now able to attend the center regularly. She enjoys it very much and enjoys the fellowship around the quilt.

Recent retirees from quilting due to health are: Arvie Fisher, who was regular daily at the center for 20 years. She has been out a few months. She recently celebrated her 95th birthday with a reception at the center which was well attended by family and friends. She enjoyed having her nephews “The Rhodes Boys” sing for her.

Bess Russell of Crucifer, was a charter member. Due to arthritis, she cannot attend as regularly as she would like and cannot quilt any more but she is still considered a quilter by the center.

Elsie Franklin, Ethyl Franklin and Opal Sparkman are regulars who are not able to do what they would like to do at the moment but they are a part of the group.

Of this group the following are members of the center’s 90s club: Arvie Fisher, Bess Russell, Madaline Olive, Lessie Hawkes, Ella Cawthon, and Ethyl Franklin. The Center celebrates each May which is Older American Month with a reception for all 90 and above members. Others in the club are: Bertha Johnson, Mae Johnson, and Roxie Green.

The staff at the center is inspired regularly by the enthusiasm and happy outlook of these ladies and all Center participants. They say it makes you realize that aging doesn’t have to be a bad thing. It has a lot to do with ATTITUDE