Family matriarch Evelyn Haselden Gibbons celebrates 105th birthday
Evelyn Haselden Gibbons will be the first to tell you that God is her only secret to reaching the age of 105.
Mrs. Eveylyn, who celebrated her birthday Saturday, says she sleeps well, eats well, and has a positive attitude about life.
At 105, her mind is still sharp. She can remember with accuracy her entire life. Her body is wearing out, but not her mind.
A visit with Mrs. Evelyn provides an amazing glimpse into historic events that shaped this world. She vividly recalls growing up in the South during the Great Depression (she said they called them Hoover Days), the bombing of Pearl Harbor as well as the wave of new inventions after World War II. She experienced dirt roads to super highways; outhouses to inside bathroom; candle light to electricity; horse and buggy to cars and planes and then to the moon. She is very aware that most changes have occurred in the last decade with all the unbelievable technology. She has lived through 19 presidents but her favorite was President Roosevelt. She still remembers listening to his fireside chats.
Born on Jan. 8, 1917, in Scranton to Lawrence and Juliette Cox Haselden, Mrs. Evelyn was the eldest and is the only surviving sibling of seven children. She married Thomas Alton Gibbons of Turbeville and spent her adult life in Turbeville. With her husband of 59 years, Mrs. Evelyn raised four children - Wayne Gibbons of Turbeville, Glenn Gibbons of Mt. Pleasant, Carolyn Pearce of Florence, and Judy McNair of Columbia.
Mrs. Evelyn has led a full and active life, working with her husband to build their business, Gibbons Furniture and Appliance. She worked in accounting, completing most of her hometown residences’ income taxes for many decades. A longtime active member of First Baptist Church while she lived in Turbeville, she has never been forgotten and always enjoys the cards and visits from her church family, even though it could be a third generation.
In 2005 Mrs. Evelyn made The Manor senior living community her home, but after suffering a stroke she moved into her daughter’s guest house in Florence. Her eldest grandson, David Coker, owns Comfort Keepers, which was inspired by his grandmother when she got sick.
To keep Mrs. Evelyn safe and secure in her new home, David arranged for one of his employees, Martha Scott, to serve as her full-time caregiver. The two women have become like family over the past years. With a sly sense of humor, Evelyn added, “I have gotten used to having Martha around. When she leaves to go to the store I always tell her, ‘don’t get in a wreck because I need you.’
She has continued to enjoy being a part of her newly adopted Florence church family at First Presbyterian Church and the Soul Sisters Circle.
Mrs. Evelyn always talks about her family with so much pride. She says they are her legacy. Ask any of her grandchildren and they will tell you their grandmother is special. Mrs. Evelyn has eight grandchildren and 14 great grandchildren, all of whom make regular visits.
When asked how she has lived such a long life, Evelyn simply said, “God. He is my doctor, and He will decide when my life is finished.”