Eva Jasper says she doesn't have a secret for long life but she's obviously doing something right.
"The Lord just lets us live," Jasper said with a laugh.
The Somerwoods Nursing and Rehabilitation resident was surrounded by family and friends as she celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday.
"Not everybody gets this much attention," Eva said of the surprise birthday party.
There's no doubt Eva has done a lot during her life since coming into the world on January 9, 1920. Born the middle of five children to Lee and Laura Bolton, the family was poor but happy in the Dykes community of eastern Pulaski County. Growing up, Eva carried mail on horseback. During World War II, while her husband Ray Snell was fighting overseas, Eva contributed to the war effort by working in a Cincinnati factory while taking care of their oldest daughter. Over the years she has farmed cattle, ran a country store for more than 10 years and retired from Palm Beach after 23 years.
Eva was married to Ray for 36 years. The couple had three children -- Judy Whitaker, Sharon Speaks and Jimmy Snell -- who have given Eva five grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Eva was also married to Hoit Jasper for 31 years. She stayed on her own until she broke a hip at the age of 92. Living at Somerwoods since August 2012, Eva has made a lot of friends with whom she enjoys playing Bingo, auctions and attending church services. But what she loves best is reading -- not only what's in the Somerwoods' library but also whatever daughter Sharon brings her.
"It's been wonderful," Sharon said of her mother reaching this milestone. "She's been fortunate."