Hanover residents who have turned 100 years of age were celebrated April 13 as the centerpiece of the County’s “Finding Value in Your Prime” event for senior citizens.
Nine residents ranging in age from 99 to 103 received a certificate of recognition from the County Administrator and Chairman of the Board of Supervisors in a collective “Happy Birthday” event attended by about 280.
“It was so lovely,” said Ardenar Giles, who will turn 101 next month. “I could feel the love.”
The centenarians were accompanied by family members who smiled broadly as they viewed a presentation showing their loved one as a young person and in later years, with stories about the highlights of their life. Many attributed their longevity to faith in God, their families and remaining active.
“Believe in the Lord,” advised Georgie Stephens, who will turn 102 this year. “Keep moving. Always be interested in something. Life moves; there’s something different for you every day. You should stimulate your brain all the time. And spend a lot of time helping people.”
- Margaret Buckley, who will turn 101 in June. She enjoys painting and selling greeting cards from her paintings. Other hobbies include reading, sewing, visiting with friends and going to church.
- Georgie Stephens, currently 101. An Ashland native who received her degree in chemistry from Virginia Union, she was a chemist at Howard University Medical School. Moving back to Hanover County, she owned the Mobile store on the corner of Rt. 54 and I-95 from 1977 to 2004.
- Jayne Paschall, who just turned 102. She was a pastor’s wife and is a breast cancer survivor of 43 years who still enjoys playing bridge, knitting, crossword puzzles, travel and attending church.
- Charles Moore, 102. He served in the Navy during World War II and returned General Douglas McArthur from the Philippines traveling through the Panama Canal. He still enjoys game books and watching baseball and football on TV.
- James Davis Sr., who will turn 100 on July 19. Another World War II veteran who served in the Navy, he has been married for 74 years to his wife Esther. His advice: “Stay young as long as you can. When you get old you can’t get young anymore.” Described as a ‘jokester’ by his family, he lived up to that description by adding another bit of advice: “Make sure you don’t get in the water unless you can swim!”
- Ardenar Giles. A Hanover native, she taught Home Economics in the Hanover County school system for 44 years, beginning at John M. Gandy and continuing at Liberty Junior High School. She enjoys gardening, sewing, traveling, God’s Word and her family.
- Naomi White, who will turn 100 in August. Ms. White is very ‘tech savvy’ – she talks to “Alexa”, plays games on her tablet and has an email and a Facebook page. She remains active: “I don’t even sit no more,” she said. She liked wrestling, at least until cheating became so prevalent. “She thinks she could put them down,” joked her daughter Geraldine Winston.
- Marjorie M. Tucker, turning 102 next month. She is a lifelong resident of Hanover County and a member of the church in which the celebration was held, Fairmount Christian. She enjoys sewing, knitting, baking and entertaining visitors.
- Laura Rice, who will be 103 in July. She was the co-field director for the National Campers and Hikers of American and played several sports including basketball and softball. She enjoys painting and traveling throughout the U.S. and has been to 14 countries.
Leah K. Greene was the first person to sign up for the Centenarian celebration, said Debbie Preston, Director of the Department of Community Resources. Sadly, Ms. Greene, the mother of 11 children, with 21 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, died last month. But she was represented by her daughter, Bennetta Greene Mensah, and her granddaughter in law, Alicia Howard.
“She would have loved it,” said Ms. Howard.
Seven other centenarians could not attend but a County official will get their certificates to them:
- Jessie Axselle, who will turn 100 in September;
- Paul Kriegler, who turned 101 in March;
- Harold Ornoff, who will turn 100 in May;
- Clair Hillyer Parrish, who also will turn 100 in May;
- Elizabeth Taylor, who will turn 102 in October;
- Katherine Thompson, who will turn 100 in July.
Preston said the Centenarian recognition would become an annual tradition.