104 years young; Mary Lou White says staying active is key to a long life

Published 8:46 am Friday, March 10, 2023




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McDowell Place of Danville resident Mary Lou White will be celebrating her 104th birthday on Sunday, March 12.

“I was born in a little town in Missouri,” White said. “My mother was a school teacher, my dad and his cousin owned a business college. I always liked school, we didn’t have buses I walked. I walked about eight blocks. It didn’t hurt me it made me good and strong.”

White had a career as a school teacher.

“I taught for more than 25 years. I loved to teach, I taught sixth grade,” White said. “I went to college at Western Kentucky University, the Hilltoppers won all the basketball games back when I graduated in 1940. I always wanted to be a teacher because my mom was one. I loved the kids, I loved to teach. I thought I knew everything back then but of course I didn’t.”


White married here college sweetheart.

“We met and got married when the war came,” White said. “We were married for more than 50 years. We had three children who were all really smart and all still alive. I lived a good life and got to do everything I liked to do. We never had to struggle. We kept in touch after college and decided to get married. He borrowed someones car and came from the base he was stationed and I got a preacher in town to come and marry us. He worked for years for the Coca-Cola company. We always had a nice home. I can’t complain about anything. I’m getting old but I don’t care.”

White loves to dance and thinks staying active is the key to a long life.

“The dances have changed so much, I loved that,” White said. “I don’t think I can do them but they have changed. When I was a kid we could waltz, now they do everything. I remember when the jitterbug came in I thought it was the funniest thing I ever saw how they move their legs and jump around.”

White is an inspiration to McDowell Place residents and staff.

“If their is anything going on she is going to be in the middle of it,” said McDowell Place activity coordinator Gina Scott. “She has zest for life that I love. She has been a mentor to me for how she lives her life. She continues to enjoy life and every day is a new adventure. I think that is a positive way to look at life. She has taught me a lot over the last several years, it has been wonderful.”