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Clintwood woman turns 108 years old

By Meredith Machen, mmachen@wcyb.com
Published On: Feb 07 2013 05:09:49 PM CST
108 woman
CLINTWOOD, Va. -

Most of our lives probably won't stretch beyond a century, and that's why the town of Clintwood, Virginia is celebrating a special birthday for one of its own.

Their oldest, and arguably most beloved citizen, turned 108 years old Thursday.

It's a birthday most will never see, but a party that couldn't be missed. 

Clintwood's Miss Rose Rush turned 108 years old.

"She's just a happy-go-lucky person. She's always kidding and teasing," said Mary Hylton, Rush's neighbor of 44 years.

We learned, with a long life that speaks volumes she's remains humble.

"I think you all should just sit down and relax," she told a group of visitors attempting to shower her with attention.

She told us, she's already told all the stories of her life. "I just don't have any," she said.    

Others are quicker to brag on her. Friends and family tell us Rush was a long-time teacher until she retired at age 65.    

That was 43 years ago, but friends said she still remembers generations of students.

"If you walked up and down the street and met 200 people, 195 of them [were] probably one of her students," said Donnie Rife, a member of the Dickenson County Board of Supervisors and friend of Rush's.

For all the lives she's touched, she's not been forgotten, either.

Friends wanted to get 108 cards sent to Rush for her birthday, instead she's now received over 300 of them.

It brings her a smile. "I like to read the notes. I get a lot of notes," said Rush.

It's a smile to a woman who has spent a life bringing joy to others, like her niece Louise Sutherland, who said Rush is more like a sister.

"Growing up, I just thought if I could grow up to be like Aunt Rose that would be all anybody could ever ask for," Sutherland told us.

Friends said there may be a secret to her longevity.

"She's lived so long, because she never married for one, and she never had any children!" laughed Hylton.

As for what's next for this 108-year-old, it's living life the way she's always done it.    

"Just take it easy!" said Rush.

Friends and family told us Rush just stopped driving this fall because she broke her wrist, but that's improving, and she's hoping to get back behind the wheel soon.

They say Rush is still very independent. She lives by herself, does her own cooking, and still loves to shop and go out to eat with friends and family.