Commonwealth Journal

News Live

June 5, 2014

Reflections over a century of life

Somerset —

She was born in Knoxville, Tenn., 19 days before the Archduke Franz Ferdinand was assassinated sparking World War I. And on Monday, Ruby Dandela McCarter will be 100 years old
“She has lived through all (major) American wars past the Civil War,” said Bob Price, manager of Active Day, an adult day care facility in Somerset where Ms. Ruby spends time during the day. 
But Ms. Ruby also helped win wars.
She pressed clothes at the military site in Oak Ridge, Tenn., during World War II, where uranium was enriched for the “Little Boy” atomic bomb that was dropped on Hiroshima.
She had other battles too. Raising nine children — including a set of twins — was hard work that left her with little time for hobbies, according to one of her daughters, Brenda Dunn. But that didn’t stop her from spending time with the kids.
“Whenever she was doing something (like milking the cow, gardening or baking), she would explain how and why she was doing each thing she was doing,” said Dunn.
“Mom was always with the kids,” she added.
And maybe she had to be; her nine children gave 13 grandchildren, who, so far, have given Ms. Ruby 16 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
For all the things she’s done while alive, Ms. Ruby couldn’t pinpoint the secret to living such a long life.
“I really don’t know (what the secret to living a long time is,)” Ms. Ruby said. “I just go on and do the things I have to do … I never thought I’d live to be 100.”
In honor of her centennial birthday, the Commonwealth will award her the honor of being Kentucky Colonel, according to Price. But in the meantime, she has already received almost 200 birthday cards from as far away as New Jersey and as high up as Rep. Hal Rogers and Sen. Mitch McConnell.
“She’s really had an interesting life,” Dunn said.

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