Opal Fortner Given turns 100

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Opal Fortner Given honored on 100th birthday. (Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)

Centurion Opal Fortner Given was guest of honor Friday at a special birthday party held in her honor at the Lakeside Nursing Center, in Lake City.

Mrs. Given was born at Pocahontas, on April 13, 1909. She grew up at Red Onion Community, north of Monette. Her family moved to Lake City just before the flood of 1937, and she has remained there ever since.

"We endured the water, the droughts and the lean crop years as farmers," Given said. "We lived with Grandmother Clinnie Fortner when the floods came and just stuck it out until the water went down. We still found joy in living here, as it was home.

"After I married, I mostly concentrated on cooking and taking care of the home. I planted big gardens and canned food for the winter months. I also sewed, quilted and crocheted when I had extra time.

Her children attend Cothren and Lake City schools. "We all worked in the cotton fields, chopping and picking cotton," she said. "That was just a way of life back then, and everyone did what they could to help out.

"I was fortunate enough to live in my home at 505 Lake Street until 1995. I moved here to Lakeside in August 2000. They take good care of me here and all my needs are met. They have made a big fuss over me turning 100 years old. I never thought I would live this long and feel real lucky to do so."

Mrs. Given has suffered the loss of two husbands, Vachel Taylor and Charles Given, and a son, James Taylor. She has three living children, Vachel Taylor of Flint, Mich., Dorothy Madison, of Long Beach, Calif., and Audrey Miller of Lake City. She has 13 grandchildren and more great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren than she can remember.

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