Loving people and God secret to 100-year-old’s long life

Published 11:00 pm Monday, July 15, 2013

One hundred years and counting, and not one person can find any fault with the life of Arline Coleman Moultry.

It was all smiles, laughter and talk of happy times at the 100th Celebration of Life honoring Moultry on Saturday at Cattleman Park.

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Arline Coleman Moultry celebrated her 100th birthday on Saturday with family and friends at Cattleman Park.

Actually, Moultry’s 100th birthday was Sunday, July 14, but Saturday was close enough to celebrate. And celebrate they did – her 10 children, 40 grandchildren and more great-grandchildren than anyone could count and relatives and friends.

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The program included reflections as a mother, grandmother, sister, aunt and friend. There was singing and dancing, a proclamation, prayers and praise.

Moultry, the family matriarch, said the 100 years have been good to her and she has been richly blessed. She also shared her secret to a long, happy life.

“Love people, love the Lord and work hard,” she said. “I worked hard all my life and I worked the field. All that love and work made me strong.”

Several of Moultry’s longtime friends celebrated with her.

They laughingly said they have known Moultry long enough to tell the real story of her life.

“Arline has found the favor of God and man,” said Estelle Moultry, 95. “And, I treasure her friendship.”

Lovie Jewell Wheeler, 90, said her friend is a “confidence keeper” and one who speaks only of the good of others. “What can you say better than that?”

Moultry’s friend, Amieree Hall, 89, said she is the “sweetest woman I have ever known.”

Collie Mae Neal, 84, gave a glimpse of the stern side of Moultry, the side that was required to raise children and be the head of a family for so many years.

“She’s a great lady but she didn’t play around,” Neal said. “You could not run her.”

Neal said Moultry was a strong woman who could do a hard day’s work and care for her children in a tender and loving way.

Johnny Moultry, Arline Coleman Moultry’s baby boy, said he remembers working next to his mother in the cotton field.

“I picked in a pillowcase and she picked in a heavy cotton sack,” he said. “She would work in the field all morning and then leave and go to the house. She would fix dinner and then do all the housework in the afternoon. She was very particular about some things. We didn’t mess with her jewelry or stove, and we didn’t sit on her bed.”

Moultry said his mother went to church every time the doors opened and with her children in tow.

“And, if we nodded off to sleep, she would hit us in the head with a paper fan,” he said. “She is quite the lady and we all love her.”