A Warren County resident has joined an elite club for senior citizens: becoming a centenarian.
Louise Locke was born March 1, 1921.
Turning 100 on Monday was a remarkable achievement for her. Broken down, it is approximately 36,500 days – depending on leap years – or 1,200 months, or 10 decades.
When asked about her secret to longevity, Locke offered a momentary hesitation before settling on the one aspect of her life that has been constant.
“I don’t know,” said Locke. “I’m happy. Maybe that’s it. I’ve always had good friends. I like to have fun and joke. I’m an optimistic person. Maybe happiness had something to do with it.”
A study in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences found people who had higher levels of optimism had a longer life span. They also had a greater chance of living past age 85.
She credits a love for reading and word puzzles in fending off age-related cognitive decline.
“I love to read,” said Locke. “My favorite books are romances. I have to have large print these days, but I still love to read. I’ve always enjoyed puzzles. I think puzzles keep your mind sharp.”
She’s also an avid reader of the Southern Standard.
When asked to name the most important invention over the last 100 years, she pointed to a small hand-held device that most people would voice a desire not to live without.
“I guess it’s those little things that everyone carries around,” said Locke of cellphones. “I have a flip one. I can make calls on it but that’s about it.”
Locke did little to quell debates regarding which decade was the best.
“The one I married Howard in,” said Locke. “The ’90s. He was the love of my life. Marrying him was the happiest day of my life. We were high school sweethearts. Years later, we reconnected.”
Howard passed away in 2019 at the age of 99. She wears a charm neckless with his picture in it.
“I wear this every day so he’s always with me,” said Locke. “Isn’t he handsome?”
A celebration was held Monday.
“I have everything I could ever want,” said Locke. “I’m blessed to have a loving family and wonderful friends. Because it’s my birthday, we’ve got cake, ice cream, a couple of pies, balloons and so many flowers that I had to place some outside my room. I’m 100, so yay!!!!”
The 100-year-old is currently a resident of The Webb House.