As Edna Hall prepared to celebrate her birthday the following day, on Tuesday she said there is no secret to her living to the age of 100.
The Yancey County native who was born in Burnsville was honored with three birthday celebrations this week, arriving at Sunday’s party at West Elkin Baptist Church, where she is a member, on her son’s Harley-Davidson, her first time on a motorcycle. “My son will be 80, and he said last year, if he was able, he was going to take me for a ride for my 100th birthday,” Hall said.
As she sat among friends who call themselves the Centel Retirees during a monthly lunch at Pizza Hut Tuesday, Hall said of her secret to making it to 100, “It is no secret. The Lord’s been good to me.”
Her humor remains in tact, as she added, laughing, “Somebody asked this man what his secret was, and he said just plain bad luck.”
“She is very active is one thing that contributed to her being 100 years old,” said Hall’s niece, Barbara Ledford.
A third celebration was held Wednesday, on her actual birthday, as her physician, Dr. Alvaro Castillejo, took her to lunch at Harvest Grill at Shelton Vineyards. Wednesday evening, she received a special phone call from another niece, who sings professionally, and was serenaded by the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra with its rendition of “Happy Birthday,” following the orchestra’s concert for the evening.
The Elkin resident still lives independently, and retains her driver’s license, which will need to be renewed when she turns 101. But she did report she quit driving a year ago. “I just quit while I was ahead,” said Hall.
Hall and her husband, Terry, who passed away seven years ago, moved to Elkin when he was transferred by the state in 1959. The couple was married 72 years.
They did leave Elkin for a five-year stint in Salisbury until Terry retired and they returned to Elkin, she said.
Hall worked first at Sunbeam’s appliance plant, and then served seven and a half years as an operator at Centel’s operation center in Elkin, from which she retired in 1981, 31 years ago.
“The year I retired, we flew to California and spent the week at a friend’s,” she said. “I’ve been on several tours, but I’ve lived a pretty quiet life.”
She also traveled to Fort Caswell, a Christian retreat on the coast, with her friend, Hessie Church.
Hall has two sons and four grandchildren now. She was a member of the WMU and sang in the choir at her church, noting, “I couldn’t sing, I just stood up there.”
“She’s been an extremely devout Christian all her life,” said Ledford.
“You can tell she has Christ in her heart, she’s so sweet,” added Polly Tulbert, one of the Centel retirees.
As she got ready to eat the coconut birthday cake made by Church’s housekeeper, Hall said coconut cake was just one of her favorites. “I have a whole lot of favorites.”
Her party on Sunday included 75 to 80 family and friends from as far as away as Boone, Hickory, Burnsville, Asheville, Fletcher, Marion, Charlotte and Baltimore, Maryland.
Wendy Byerly Wood may be reached at 336-258-4035 or on Twitter @wendywoodeditor.