Troy resident celebrates 99 years of birthdays

Published 11:00 pm Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Serdell Louise Owens Stringer celebrated her 99th birthday Tuesday with family and friends at the Troy Health and Rehabilitation Center and, as always, with a song in her heart.

Dobbie Stringer Smith traveled from Indiana to be with her mom on her special day and she brought with her gift that struck a cord with all the family.

“My mom has always loved to sing and she had an incredible voice,” Smith said. “I didn’t realize what a beautiful voice she had until almost 20 years ago. Sometimes you don’t recognize things like that.”

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But, in preparing to make the trip to Alabama, Smith remembered how much her mother loved to sing and she also remembered her favorite song, “This Little Light of Mine.”

“I was at my church and this band was playing so I asked them to record my mother’s favorite song so that I could play it for her on her birthday,” Smith said. “Our mother’s light has always shined and it shines now.”

Serdell Louise Owens Stringer was born on Oct. 29, 1914 in Goshen. She was the second oldest of six children. She has outlived all of her siblings.

“Mother grew up on a farm and she married a farmer,” Smith said. “During those early years of home and married life, she lived from the field to the house, back and forth. She was a hard worker; she was energetic and she had a great spirit and still does.”

Stringer’s husband died in 1954 and she never remarried.

“Mother accepted the responsibility of the family and, although she didn’t have a high school education, she knew the value of an education. She made sure that all of us received an education and she was determined to get her diploma. She got her GED about the same time I got my high school diploma. She took pride her diploma but she didn’t stop there. She went on and received nursing training.”

Smith said that her mom was a caregiver before the term “caregiver” was coined.

“She took care of some of the most prominent families in Troy,” she said. “The people she cared for were very compassionate. They wanted to see Mother do well and she did. She took care of her family in a loving and caring way. She is the kind of person who never gave up. She wanted the best for her children and she did what she could do to make that happen.”

At age 99, Stringer enjoys music and recites The Lord’s Prayer and the 23rd Psalm, which she holds close to her heart.

“The light of her life, well lived, continues to shine through,” her daughter said.