August 31, 2016 Edition

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Lorene Hamilton takes
100th birthday in stride

Lorene Hamilton

Submitted Photo ~ David Martin

John Bland

A pot of beans cooks on her stove, while Lorene Hamilton of Walnut Ridge recounts stories and highlights of her life. The phone rings, and she tells a caller she is busy but will call back. A few minutes later, a neighbor stops by to see if she needs anything. She mentions that another neighbor had taken her by the nursing home earlier that day to visit residents there.

Her lively actions and her vivid stories belie the fact that she will turn 100 years old on Monday. She will be honored with a 100-year birthday celebration on Saturday, Sept. 10, from 2 to 4 p.m. at the Main Street Church of Christ Annex. Everyone is invited to attend but asked to RSVP with Libby Allison at 870-886-5119.

Lorene was born on Sept. 5, 1916, just north of Alicia at Davenport Crossing. The daughter of Joe and Winnie Webb, she also had two brothers, Maurice Webb and Boyce Webb. Her father died at age 75, and her mother lived to be 82. Boyce died at the age of 51, but Maurice, who died last year, lived to be 101.

"I never once dreamed of living past 80," Lorene said.

To what does she attribute her and her brother's long life? "I don't know. We just never stopped. We worked. We played a lot of tennis," Lorene said of she and her brother.

She and Maurice were both active in their youth. Mr. Grimes, who operated Grimes bottling company in Walnut Ridge, recruited Maurice to play football for a year at Walnut Ridge High School, and she and her brother both played basketball in school. As an adult, she also jogged and walked regularly through the years.

On Maurice's 95th birthday, they celebrated by walking across the Big Dam Bridge in Little Rock. On his 100th birthday, they had planned to walk across the pedestrian bridge near the Clinton Library, but a day of rain prevented it.

Millard and Libby Allison got to know Lorene through their church. "We kind of adopted Lorene," said Libby.

"She's just remarkable," said Libby. "She's always at church, three times a week." She also goes to the nursing homes monthly, when her church hosts a service at each of the two nursing homes. She used to walk up and down the halls of the nursing homes inviting all the residents to attend the service, Libby said.

Hamilton is also a staunch fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and Arkansas Razorbacks. And she never fails to vote in an election. "I always vote," she said. "My daddy made us vote."

Lorene was still driving up until about four or five years ago when she lost use of an arm. She was having surgery for a pacemaker, when a nerve was accidently severed.

"She's always been so fiercely independent," Libby added.

"I'm just her second mother, her adopted mother," Lorene says of her relationship to Libby.

"God has been good to me," Lorene concluded.

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