A century and counting: Ardmore woman turned 100 on Friday

Drew Butler
dbutler@gannett.com
Canoe Brook Ardmore Assisted Living resident Velma Peery at her 100th birthday party on Friday. At 100 years old Peery still participates in every activity and enjoys arts and crafts, singing and bingo.

In the evening hours of Saturday, December 18, 1920 a little girl was born in Garvin County. On Friday, December 18, 2020 that little girl, Velma Peery, celebrated her 100th birthday at Canoe Brook Ardmore Assisted Living.

“I’ve still got a lot of life in me,” she said. “I can do pretty good, but the more I sit around the stiffer I get.”

Her son, Lynn Peery shared a few details about his mother’s life. She lived in Garvin County for most of her life until moving into an assisted living facility in Ardmore a little over a decade ago. She was married to her husband for 57 years until his death in 1994, and the couple had four sons and one daughter.

Lynn, at the age of 74, is the baby of the family, and he said four of the five siblings are still living. One of his brothers passed away last year after an infection he developed after a surgery.

He credits his mother's and siblings' longevity with honest living and hard work — along with the help of genetics.

“My grandparents on her side both passed away in their early 80s,” Peery said. “On my dad’s side most of them died in their early 50s. My dad had heart surgery at 54 and we were able to keep him for another 20 years until he passed away at the age of 74.”

He shared a story about his mother from the day after his father passed.

“When my dad passed away, we went up and spent the night,” Peery said. “The next morning I got up and made coffee for everybody and took her some. She told me that she didn’t like that stuff. I said what do you mean you don’t like it? You and dad sat and drank coffee every morning for 57 years! She said well, he liked to talk and drink coffee in the morning, and I never liked it but I did it for him. Talk about dedication!”

Peery lives in Ardmore as do several of her grandchildren. He said he visits her through the window almost every day and the entire family is looking forward to when they are able to come inside to visit and take her out for day trips.

“She said she feels like a tiger in a cage because she can’t get out and everybody is stuck inside,” he said. “We hope to get to where we can get her out to move around a bit. We’re also looking forward to getting in and helping her redo her room once all of this is done.”