GALLIPOLIS — Most individuals can tell you that a century means a hundred years have passed, but few can tell you what a hundred years of experience are really like.
Lona Wamsley celebrated her 107th birthday Friday at Holzer Assisting Living in Gallipolis. She was born June 9, 1910, in Point Pleasant, W.Va. She was raised by her sister, Eva Murphy after her mother’s death, shortly after her birth.
“Well, trust in the good Lord,” said Wamsley, if others wanted to live to her age. “That’s the main thing. Trust in the name of Jesus.”
Family members have said that Wamsley has also credited her many years by eating red tomatoes on a frequent basis, nearly with every meal. Wamsley has lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement era and many more. She married her husband Cecil Ray Wamsley on May 8, 1937 and they shared one son from the marriage, Ken.
Gifts from area businesses, friends and family were given to Lona during her birthday celebration with special music played in her honor.
According to information previously told to Ohio Valley Publishing, the flood of 1936 was a much remembered time in Wamsley’s life as she suffered a gall bladder emergency. Her husband, Cecil, pulled her up a muddy and turbulent Ohio River on a row boat to medical care. Wamsley said her husband was also among those helping with recovery efforts for those lost in the days following the collapse of the Silver Bridge.
Wamsley was a housewife until her husband passed in 1971 after his time as a deckhand. She served as a riverboat cook. Wamsley has lived in Holzer Assisted Living since 2015. Until that time, she managed and continued to live in her own home.
Among gifts received for the day, Wamsley received a Kings James Version Bible with her name inscribed across the cover along with a purple quilt and dozens of cards and flowers. The celebration in Wamsley’s honor was centered around gospel music and scripture as she has been a life-long Christian.
Wamsley is the grandmother of four granddaughters, one grandson and two great-grandchildren.
Dean Wright can be reached at 740-446-2342, ext. 2103.