05/25/05 — 101-year-old woman hopes to be longest-living member of family

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101-year-old woman hopes to be longest-living member of family

By Phyllis Moore
Published in News on May 25, 2005 1:45 PM

At 101 years old, Ada Minshew is still hoping to be the longest living member of her family.

A sister lived to be 102.

Mrs. Minshew, whose birthday was May 10, may well overtake her sister next year. She said Tuesday that her health is better than it was a few years ago.

In fact, said granddaughter Kay Smith, if it wasn't for fear of her falling and being left at home alone at night, she might not have moved into Britthaven a few months ago. Beyond some difficult hearing and a few pains here and there, she remains in remarkably good health.

"She never drank anything dark, not even tea," her granddaughter said. "That might be one reason she's lived so long."

Mrs. Minshew, who grew up in the Faro-Eureka area of northern Wayne County, lived in Stantonsburg until she moved into Britthaven.

She celebrated her birthday surrounded by family and friends. Her room at Britthaven remains decorated with cards, flowers and balloons.

"Mammy," as Ms. Smith calls her grandmother, recalled growing up on her family farm, along with 13 brothers and sisters.

"We had to get up every morning, go to the fields, work until 12, when we'd go home and eat dinner," Mrs. Minshew said. "Mama always cooked dinner for us."

She married William Minshew and the couple tended a tobacco farm and briefly ran a country store in Faro for a few years before he died nearly 30 years ago.

The couple had five children, three are still living. Mrs. Minshew now has 14 grandchildren and numerous great-grandchildren.

Ms. Smith said her father, Earl Minshew, who died at age 49, also farmed and tried to look after his parents.

"When we moved, he'd always make sure there was two houses so they could live nearby," she said.

While her own mother worked, Ms. Smith said her grandmother took care of the children.

"We stayed with her; she raised us," she said. "You didn't ask then, 'Can they stay with you?'"

Ms. Smith called her grandmother "a good Christian woman," who was devoted to Faro Church. Church members have been good to her, she said, visiting often and sending cards and notes. Despite her age, she said, her grandmother remains reasonably active.

"She's got a real good attitude," Ms. Smith said. "She has a lot of visitors, some from church, some that come to see their family, come to see her."

Mrs. Minshew has long worn her hair swept up in a bun. She has never cut it, Ms. Smith said.

It wasn't until her husband died that she decided to get a driver's license. She was in her 70s. She said he didn't want to her to drive.

"I won't concerned about no driver's license because he went everywhere with me."

She says she hasn't driven in a long time now, having sold her car.

"Now I wish I hadn't," she said wistfully.

She also used to love to fish.

"Not long ago, she said she wished she could go fishing one more time," Ms. Smith said.