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Good nutrition has aided woman in reaching 100

It's a milestone most people don't expect to pass. When Dell Rogers reached it, she celebrated big with two parties for her 100th birthday.

"I guess it is unusual to be 100, but I've been all right," Ms. Rogers said while sitting on the sofa in her living room in the Hickory Hills subdivision. "I haven't had any serious illnesses. And I'm not sick now; I'm just worn out."

The parties were both given by her nephew, Guy Shivers. The first was on Aug. 2 at Prospect Methodist Church. The next Sunday, a family party was held at the annual family reunion.

"So I had parties two Sundays in a row," Ms. Rogers said. "Guy did that for me. Some friends came from as far away as Atlanta. And Clois Witt (a friend) made photo books of the church party. I came home from the party and she had them here before the sun went down."

As she turned the pages in the photo book, Ms. Rogers reminisced about joining Prospect when she was 10 years old, but moving her membership in 1944 when she moved away from the area. She was born in Warren County, where she grew up with eight siblings.

"I was a Shelton. There were eight of us, but they're all gone but me and my two nephews ... Definitely, I grew up a country girl and I still am one," she said.

At Prospect UMC, Ms. Rogers was the treasurer of the United Methodist Women "as long as I was able." Later in her life, she started attending the First United Methodist Church of Thomson.

She moved to Thomson in 1974 after the death of her second husband. She was married to her first husband, James E. Gains, for nine years before he died.

"I met him at Camp Gordon, he was from Ireland," she said.

After that, she was married to Bill Rogers for 10 years until his death.

Although her mind is sharp and she has no trouble communicating, the years seem to run together in her memory.

"I can't remember to save my life," she said as she tried to recall the years she got married and her first job.

She does remember her last job as a clerk for Bernie Smith Company in Macon. Then she took up "home nursing," where she would live with and care for elderly people.

"There was a few of them," she said. "I was 75 when I took care of the last patient I had in the home. And after that, I took care of my brother's wife."

One memory that does stand out is the day she quit driving.

"I haven't driven since I was 93 years old. I had a wreck and I had to sort of slow down in my late years," she said with a laugh.

Ms. Rogers holds the record for longevity in her family. She said her mother died at the age of 74, her father and grandparents were in their 80s, and only two of her siblings made it to their early 90s.

"I'm the oldest one," she said with a smile. "I always eat right, I think that helped. I see to it that I have plenty of vegetables. I don't feel like I've had a meal if I haven't had vegetables. And I eat a lot of fruits, too. Most of the time, I guess I could be a vegetarian and not eat anything else. Today, I had cabbage and peaches. I eat all the time. Even at night when I wake up."

Although Ms. Rogers cares for herself, Mr. Shivers lives with her. She had no children of her own, and said her two nephews are "like sons to me." Her neighbors help with the yard work, and sometimes, she tries to do some herself.

"I'm not physically able to do what all I want," she said as she looked around and pointed out some plants that needed repotting and other minor tasks. "But I do some stuff. I can work for a while and then I quit and I go to bed if I take a notion to. I haven't had a boss since I left my daddy's house."

Web posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009

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