Life Lessons from Texas Centenarians

Seniors are living longer and healthier lives than ever before. Remarkably, some seniors are even surviving into their hundreds. It’s estimated that there are more than 76,000 centenarians throughout the United States, and 3,000 in Texas.

Because they’ve seen and experienced so much, centenarians have important lessons to share. So today, we thought we’d highlight the incredible lives of sixteen Texas centenarians and pass on some of their wisdom.

1. & 2. John and Charlotte Henderson

two gold wedding bands on bible

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John and Charlotte Henderson wed in 1939 and have been married for 80 years, making them the oldest living couple in the world.

John, 106, says that the key to a long life is moderation. He doesn’t overeat or drink and makes sure to eat a healthy diet and exercise regularly.

Charlotte, 105, believes that her happy marriage and an active lifestyle have both played a role in her longevity.

The pair also has advice for couples, they think that couples should date for a while before they get married. Charlotte and John dated for five years before tying the knot, which gave them a chance to really get to know each other.

The couple also resolves their arguments before bed so there aren’t any lingering hurt feelings in the morning.

We’ll definitely be taking their relationship advice. After all, they’ve been married for 80 years,

3. Erma Killion Meador

One thing that we can all learn from Erma Killion Meador, a 109-year-old Texas native, is the importance of giving back.
She was a Sunday School teacher for more than 20 years and a caregiver to the elderly.

She was also an active volunteer at a number of organizations including the Pink Ladies. She didn’t retire from volunteer work until she was nearly 90.

Erma has made an immeasurable difference in her community and continues to inspire everyone around her with her positivity and kindness.

4. Ofelia Gonzales

happy senior couple dancing outside

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Ofelia Gonzales, a 109-year-old who resides in Texas, says that the three secrets to a long life are faith, eating well, and staying active.

Gonzales regularly gives thanks to God for her blessings. She eats healthy meals and avoids fast food, but does enjoy a sweet treat every once in a while.

She also stays active by dancing to her favorite Spanish ballads and spending time with her beloved daughters and granddaughters.

5. Hertha Glenn

Hertha Glenn, a retired teacher from Austin, just celebrated her 100th birthday.

She was an educator for more than 40 years and taught both high school and college.

Her faith and her strong support network both keep her going. She has a close relationship with God and her friends, who she calls regularly to stay in touch.

She also focuses on giving back to others and enjoying life.

6. Artie Lowthorp

Artie Lowthorp is a retired beautician who just turned 100 in December. To celebrate, she had a big party with her friends and family, including her son Mark.

Artie is known for her big personality and a bright smile. She has a great sense of humor, loves to laugh, and genuinely cares about the people around her.

She tries not to worry about the things she can’t control, which is likely a big reason why she’s lived such a long, healthy life.

She also likes to go out and do things in her hometown of Tyler, Texas, which has kept her young.

7. James South

Purple golf shoes putter and golf ball on green grass

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James South, a World War II veteran, just turned 100 on October 7th. He celebrated with his son Jim by golfing and indulging in his favorite meal, chicken fried steak.

Since James retired at 65, he’s stayed active by woodworking, playing golf, gardening, and spending time with family. He also attends church.

His main piece of life advice is that happiness is more important than money, and we definitely agree.

8. Janice Bradley

Janice Bradley just turned 100 in December. To celebrate the milestone, she wanted to receive 100 birthday cards and reached out for help on social media.

She received an overwhelming response. Instead of the 100 cards, she asked for, she received over 1000.

Janice is deserving of that and more. She’s a proud World War II veteran who served in the Women’s Army Corp.

We hope that those cards made her feel special on her birthday!

9. Lyndoll Hurley

happy birthday written in pink on a card

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Lyndoll Hurley, who recently turned 100, also had a birthday wish to receive 100 cards. Just like Janice, he received well over 1000 cards after posting on social media.

Lyndoll is a World War II veteran who served in the Navy. He’s also a loving father of four, grandfather, and great-grandfather.

Lyndoll’s family is what keeps him going. He said he wanted to make it to 100 to have more time to spend with them.

Studies have shown that relationships play a key role in longevity, so his close ties with family likely helped him reach this milestone birthday.

10. Fay Hargrove

Fay Hargrove recently celebrated her 100th birthday at Christian Care Communities, a senior living facility in Mesquite, Texas.

Fay says that she’s not a worrier and believes that’s part of why she’s lived so long. She doesn’t worry about the things she can’t change, which keeps her stress levels low.

Stress is a risk factor for a number of chronic diseases, so we think Fay is onto something.

She also has an important piece of life advice for younger generations. When you get knocked down by life’s problems, you don’t have to stay down—you can get back up again.

Fay is clearly resilient because she made it all the way to 100! We hope her fighting spirit keeps her going for many years to come.

11. Rose Landin

red and yellow state fair food stall sign in front lit ferris wheel

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Believe it or not, Rose Landin, a 101-year-old from Dallas Texas, still has a job. She works at the State Fair as a greeter five days a week, a position she’s held for 25 years.

Rose said she gets bored sitting at home and enjoys working because it keeps her active. She always greets people with a smile on her face and is one of the fair’s most beloved employees.

Some studies have linked working past retirement age with better health and reduced risk of dementia. So Rose’s job may be one of the reasons she’s lived such a long, vibrant life.

12. Evelyn Tucker

Evelyn Tucker, a 100-year-old resident of Austin, served our country as a nurse in World War II. She went above and beyond for the soldiers she cared for and said that nothing she could do for them would be too much.

A few years after she returned home from the war, she married Bryan Tucker, a Marine. Sadly, Bryan died in 1994. But Evelyn is still surrounded by family, including her three loving children, four grandchildren, and two great-grandchildren.

13. Evelyn Howell

brown piano against a white wall

Source: Pexels

Evelyn Howell recently celebrated her 100th birthday with her family and friends.

Evelyn grew up on a farm in the Texas Panhandle and studied at Texas Tech. She later married and had four children.

Evelyn has stayed sharp over the years by playing the piano. Music has always been her passion. She started playing piano at 6 years old and hasn’t let age slow her down.

Studies have shown that having a hobby can increase your longevity and give you a sense of purpose. So Evelyn’s dedication to the piano has likely helped her live a long, healthy life.

Evelyn also had a piece of life advice for younger generations⁠—try your best to do what’s right. You may not always succeed, she says, but you have to try. We definitely agree.

14. Ernie Lacroix

Ernie Lacroix, a World War II veteran, just turned 100. To celebrate, he walked the Cowtown 5K in Fort Worth with family and friends.

Ernie has participated in the race for 20 years straight and shows no signs of slowing down. He says he still feels great and plans to work out regularly and walk 5K races for as long as he can.

Ernie has always been in excellent shape. He played golf twice a week for years, walked everywhere, and worked out at the gym three times a week.

His commitment to exercise is likely the biggest reason for his longevity. Many studies have shown that being physically active increases your lifespan and wards off disease.

15. Dr. Thomas Freeman

Dr. Thomas Freeman, a debate coach at Texas Southern University, recently turned 100.

For over 70 years, he’s trained generations of students to be great orators. His debate team has consistently beaten tough competitors like Harvard and the University of Chicago.

He still hasn’t retired from his job and works 12 hours a day on average. He believes that working is what’s kept him young.

16. Wilson Dickson

Wilson Dickson, a resident of Tyler, Texas, just turned 100 in November.

Wilson served in World War II as an engineer aboard the USS LSM 51. He loves sharing stories about his time in the service, spending time with family, and learning new things to keep his mind sharp.

When asked what his secret to a long life was, Wilson simply said, “luck.” We think he may be onto something because studies have shown that genetics play a key role in longevity.

We wish Wilson continued luck and many more happy, healthy birthdays!

Every centenarian has a nearly endless amount of knowledge, wisdom, and life experience to share. We hope that you enjoyed hearing the advice from these sixteen centenarians about how to live a better, healthier, and hopefully longer life.