Aretha Mae (White) Croy turned 100 years old on May 8, celebrated May 5 in Oakhurst with her family and more than 40 neighbors and church friends.
Mrs. Croy was born May 8, 1913 in Elgood, West Virginia into a family of eight brothers and sisters. The family raised most of what they needed to eat, and her childhood home did not have electricity or running water.
She grew up doing chores, attending school, and going to church on Sunday mornings. School and church were about a two mile walk each way.
Mrs. Croy married at age 20 and moved into the same house where she was born; her family had moved into a larger farm house nearby when she was 5.
Life was hard in the hills of West Virginia. In 1933, as a wife and mother, she planted and preserved a vegetable garden out of necessity. Later she continued the garden out of love of the activity. Much of the harvest she gave to friends and neighbors.
Mrs. Croy added income to the family by working in a local department store, GC Murphy, and continued the farm work as well. She moved to a farm near Princeton, West Virginia in 1950. She continued to have a vegetable garden until age 96 -- only giving it up when she could no longer keep the weeds under control.
Aretha is a member of Kee Street United Methodist in Princeton, West Virginia, where she taught classes and volunteered for more than 60 years.
Family is very important to her. She was the primary caregiver for her parents and husband, and helped with her son until he died in 2006.
She moved to Oakhurst in 2008 to live with her daughter and son-in-law, Jean and Hale Farley. The family said she continues to inspire her family and church members by her deep faith and positive attitude about life.