Sarah Patience Carter Jones celebrates 100th birthday
Published 3:00 am Tuesday, September 27, 2016
Football should have been the big news on Sunday. Troy, Alabama and Auburn all won on the gridiron, but those who gathered at Goshen Baptist Church were more interested in talking about an event that happened a hundred years ago.
The headline on the hot-off-the-press Troy Herald read, “Sarah Patience Carter Is Born.”
“Sarah Patience Carter was born Sept. 26, 1916, to Asa Melton and Lilly Ethel Carter. She was born at home off old 3 Notch Road between Troy and Henderson. She was delivered by Dr. Hiram Lofllin of Henderson. Her sister, Nell and brother, Seaborn, welcomed her to the world.”
Sarah Patience Carter Jones celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at Goshen Baptist Church Sunday afternoon.
“I’m one hundred and two days old,” she said. “My name is Sarah Patience, but don’t call me Patience. I don’t have any.”
At age 100, Sarah, as she “must be called,” has the wit and spunk of a 20-something.
About three weeks after she was born, a huge earthquake – 5.1 magnitude – hit Birmingham. It was felt in seven states. It had a devastating effect on those in the area.
Sarah’s birth had the opposite affect on the Carter clan.
“She has been a model for all of us, an inspiration,” said Mary Alice Sanders, Sarah’s baby sister. “Sarah was the next to the oldest of the seven children in the family. She was 13 when I was born. I was born at home and she stayed home from school to look after me.”
Sarah Patience Carter Jones was the center of attention throughout the afternoon Sunday and she enjoyed the attention and quickly shared her secret to a long life.
“Hard work,” she said. “Hard work won’t kill you. It will keep you going.”
When Sarah graduate from Troy High School – “and I was a classmate of Douglas Edwards. He was a famous news commentator on television”— her uncle wanted her to go to Huntington, West Virginia, and go to college.
“But when I got there, school had already started,” Sarah said. “I didn’t want to sit around and wait until it started again. I wanted to work.”
The industrious young Sarah went to secretarial school and got a job with GMAC.
“But everywhere I went, I wanted family so I transferred back to Alabama, to Birmingham,” she said. “That’s where I met my husband, Wilber Jones.”
Sarah Jones had two sons and a daughter. She lost both of her sons at a young age.
“Life is sometimes hard,” she said.
Hard work is often the way through sad and trying times. Sarah said she always worked hard. Work was often her refuge.
“I enjoyed work,” she said. “It was good for me. I always worked, wanted to work.”
Sarah worked at First Methodist Church in Birmingham until she was 70 years old.
“I wasn’t ready to quit work but they told me I had to quit,” she said. “They said when you got to be 70, it was time to go home and sit down. I didn’t want to sit.”
So, Sarah bought a computer and took a computer course. She entered the job market with a new set of skills. She was hired at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and worked there until she was 86 years old.
“I was there on time and I did my job and I did it right,” she said with a smile.
After retirement at age 86, Sarah remained active, going here and there with family and friends. She got her daily exercise going up and down stairs to her bedroom.
“Then, I fell and broke my hip so I don’t go up the stairs anymore,” she said. “Now I sit.”
Sarah may sit but she keeps an intense interest in her family and friends. She keeps active mentally and physically.
“My body is God’s temple,” she said. “I’m not going to let my body get torn down so that I can’t serve my Lord.”