- Last Updated on 07:52 AM 08/08/12
- BY Tiffany Hudson
Never thinking she’d see the day she would retire, Katherine McCargo is celebrating her 100th birthday today.
After several decades of hard work and taking care of others, McCargo decided it was time to rest and relax.
Now residing in The Woodview, she spends her days visiting, exercising, attending services and singing.
“I spent my whole life taking care of everyone else, young and old,” said McCargo.
She has spent a better part of her life helping raise children including her nieces, nephews, their children and others, even some elderly friends and family members.
McCargo never married, and she didn’t have children, so she chose to take care of others.
She also worked nearly 40 years at Slayton Electric in Clover, was a cook at a bus station, and cooked and cleaned in New York where she lived a few short months.
City life was not for her though, she confessed. She never liked the big city and came back to Halifax after six months.
Although she said she had a hard, rough life, it was a “nice life.”
Joining the residents of The Woodview three years ago, McCargo is still able to bathe and dress herself and get around on her own on most days.
“I like to do for myself when I can. I don’t like to depend on anyone else,” said McCargo.
Nieces and nephews from Georgia, New York and Halifax and all the children she helped take care of through the years still come to visit McCargo on occasion including Vicki Campbell who currently lives in Petersburg.
“She has known me since my birth 71 years ago. She lived with us and stayed with my mother when my dad died. When I was younger, my mother made us both clothes, and I always thought she was close to my age. We’d share clothes, and I’d wear some of hers to go on dates,” said Campbell.
“She is a wonderful, kind and loving person who has taken care of others all of her life. She has never been married but has helped raise a number of children including me from birth. She said a couple of years ago that she was tired of taking care of others and wanted to be taken care of herself. I invited her to come to live with my husband and me in Petersburg, but she elected to go to Woodview so that more of her extended family could visit her,” added Campbell.
McCargo said the decision to come to Woodview three years ago wasn’t a hard one, but “it was the best choice” although family members had offered to take care of her.
She was at the time taking care of her foster sister, cooking, cleaning and had simply given out.
In her 100 years, she has seen things change through the decades in small town South Boston.
“Stores have gone out of business, ain’t nothing like it used to be,” said McCargo.
“Roses, Leggetts…you use to could go sit, meet and talk with your friends, ones you hadn’t seen in a while. Things have changed so much now from the way they were then,” she added.
McCargo always enjoyed hanging out and talking with the older crowd even when she was younger. Of course, she had her younger friends too.
Her advice to the younger generations is, “trust the Lord and keep going to church. Be nice and don’t be nasty to people.”
She said it seems to her people are terrible to each other these days, and when given the chance she tries to just pass them on by.
Woodview staff members commented on how they couldn’t believe McCargo was turning 100, with her high spirits, personality and agility.
“I never thought I’d live to be a hundred,” concluded McCargo.