Woman marks 105th birthday

Posted by : Monitor Admin | On : September 11, 2013

Courtesy photo Grace Hardy Thomas turned 105 on Sept. 5. She was born in Bonham, Texas in 1908.

Courtesy photo
Grace Hardy Thomas turned 105 on Sept. 5. She was born in Bonham, Texas in 1908.

By Pearl Cantrell
Monitor Staff Writer

GUN BARREL CITY–On Sept. 5, Gun Barrel City resident Grace Hardy Thomas turned 105. She celebrated with family members on Saturday, Aug. 28. Her son, Brad Thomas, guesses that her low-stress lifestyle had much to do with her longevity.
She has lived with her son, Brad, for the past seven years on Ocean Drive in Gun Barrel City. She is the mother of two sons, the other living in Kansas City, Kan., four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.
Grace was born in Bonham the youngest of nine children in 1908 and still enjoys the beans and cornbread she thrived on as a child.
Right after finishing her public education, she enrolled in Texas A&M at Lubbock to earn a two-year teaching certificate. In 1928, she was one of the first women to enroll in Texas’ oldest public universities, and her family told The Monitor that she rode in a horse and buggy from Lubbock to the college campus.
Upon graduation she taught English for two years before marrying Charles Edward Thomas. In those days, a married woman was fully employed managing the homestead and rearing children. The couple settled in Oak Cliff, and she became a faithful member at the Cliffwood Church of Christ.
She was married for 46 years, before her husband died in 1978, and she never remarried. She took up dollmaking, specializing in beautiful porcelain dolls and also enjoyed playing bridge three times a week, becoming a master at the game.
Today, her hearing isn’t too good, but those who know her best can usually communicate with her very well. She kept driving until the age of 98.
Her family came to America in 1788 from Scotland. Her husband Charles enlisted with Military Inteligence in 1940 during World War II.
Her bother decommissioned horses for Lieutenant Colonel Theodore Roosevelt, and his Rough Riders after the Spanish-American War.
Her father Will Hardy was born in Illinois around 1867 and became the Bonham Sheriff. He was paid mainly in farm products. She said her family did not suffer in the Great Depression because of the abundance of food he received. She recalls that bread cost a nickle a loaf, and milk cost 32 cents a gallon.
When she first moved to Gun Barrel City, another centenarian, Gladys Forrester, fitted her for a bathing suit so she could float at the ETMC pool. She also wore it on a cruise in 1999.
Saul Garza of Fox News and Cong. Jeb Hensarling helped her get a passport, as she did not have a birth certificate.
She can still bend at the waist to tie her shoes, makes her bed everyday and drinks lots of coffee.