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Mother of four celebrates 100 years

If you ask Garnet Fields about her advice for living a long, healthy life, she’ll tell you about her faith.

“Depend on the Lord for help,” Fields said.

Fields would know, too.

The Jo-Lin resident and lifelong resident of Lawrence County turned 100 years old Feb. 25.

A native of Ellisonville, Fields lost her mother at the age of five. Her mother was pregnant when she died of influenza.

“I think there were three in a row that died there in Ellisonville,” she said of the outbreak.

Fields was raised by her grandparents and attended class at a one-room schoolhouse in Ellisonville.

“When we went to school we had to walk up the hill and come back down the hill and I had weak ankles,” she recalled. “I was always falling.”

The school there burned down and she went to Vesuvius School during her last year.

Fields met her husband, Emory Fields, at church when she was 18.

The two lived in Ellisonville but first also lived in Deering, on Oakridge Road and South Point.

In Deering, the couple rented a house for $10 a month.

“The house is still standing,” she said.

Fields recalls the life during the Great Depression of the late 1920s and early 1930s.

“It was hard during the Depression,” she said. “We had our own coal and we raised a garden and canned vegetables to eat. We used to get commodities.”

Fields said the experience of living through the Depression taught her family valuable lessons about money.

“We just had to save,” Fields said.

Fields also remembers the 1937 Flood.

Though she wasn’t affected by it herself, some of her relatives lived above a grocery store in Ironton.

“Water was all around the house,” she said.

She worked in a shoe store in Ironton after high school. Besides the shoe store, Fields also worked as a bus driver for Pedro High School for two years. After that Fields worked at JC Penney’s with her son until management told her that family members were not allowed to work together there. After that she went to work at Leggett’s Department store.

A mother of four and a grandmother of eight, most of Fields’ life was dedicated to raising her family.

“Well I had good children,” she said. “We went to Sunday school and church.”

She is a member of the Red Hat Society and has quilted for the last 40 years of her life.

“I just went to church and I enjoyed church,” she said. “ I also enjoyed quilting.”

Field’s celebrated her birthday with friends and family who threw her a party Saturday at Sugar Creek Missionary Baptist Church. It was quite the surprise to Fields.

‘They told me that we were going to Symmes Valley for a ballgame and we ended up at the church,” Fields said.

Seeing the nearly 70 people who had come to celebrate with her, Fields was overcome with emotion.

“I cried,” she said. “My granddaughter said ‘Why are you crying?’ and I said ‘they’re tears of joy.’”