By BRAD KEITH
STEPHENVILLE (August 18, 2015) — Lois Pack hasn’t lived forever, just almost.
Pack is 103 years young today, Tuesday, August 18, and celebrated the occurrence with family and friends Sunday afternoon at Good Tree Retirement Center.
“The secret to living so long? I don’t know, the good Lord has just been good to me,” said Pack, who has lived in Stephenville the past 99 years. “I’ve had good doctors to pull me through some real bad times, like the shingles. I’m careful what I eat, I take exercise twice a day and and if I start having a cold or something I will spray my throat and treat my cold right away so it doesn’t get bad.”
It’s worked for Pack, whose memory is still clear enough to recall events from seven, even eight decades ago.
Pack’s mother moved the family to Fort Worth while pregnant with Lois because Lois’ father was killed by lightning while sewing oats. But after her mother corresponded with Sam Fields of Stephenville and the two were eventually married, the family returned to a 300 acre farm just outside town.
“We stayed there and farmed just like other people did,” Pack remembers. “We were broke just like everyone else. I helped gather corn and helped with the chickens. Our only transportation was a buggy and two horses and we used that on the farm. It was a one-mile walk to school and a one-mile walk to church.”
Pack grew up and became a school teacher, working for a whopping total of $65 a month that eventually grew to $100. Not only that, but she had to be transported to Guthrie to cash her pay vouchers.
Lois married Raymond Pack in 1939, and they made it through teaching school by teaching in the winter time and gong to school in the summer time. While educating other children in the community, in 1947 they adopted two of their own – George 7, and his sister, Eileen, 6. Lois went on to teach 34 years, retiring in 1974.
Pack doesn’t just exercise for physical health, she has a game plan for her mental health, too.
“She plays word games. Someone will give her a word and she has to instantly take the last letter of that word and answer with a word that begins with that letter,” said nephew Don Jones, whose family helped throw Lois’ 103rd birthday party Sunday. “She also plays a lot of Scrabble.”
The mental exercise clearly works as Lois recalls memories from decades ago, and as she greeted friends and family and exchanged hugs with many loved ones during her party.
As the crowd sang happy birthday to their aunt, great aunt, adopted mother, friend, teacher or one of the many other labels Lois has earned during her more than century-long life, one deep bass voice ended the song with the not-so-formal but also traditional line, “And many mooooorrre.”
The crowd laughed, cut cake and shared punch, a simple celebration of life for a woman who has lived longer than most in the room can even fathom.
Jones shares a simple story that epitomizes the attitude his aunt Lois has toward life and the zeal with which she keeps herself as fit as possible after all these years.
“She fell down one day in the room, and of course she needed help getting up,” Jones began. “But when the nurses got there to help here, she was on the floor exercising.”
Of course she was. Twice a day. It’s part of her secret to a long life.
A secret that has blessed others for 103 years and counting.