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Woman turns 102 in Walterboro


Two friends watch as Octavia opens a birthday present.

Friends and relatives of Walterboro resident Octavia Kinsey helped her celebrate her 102nd birthday at Dogwood Hills Country Club Thursday.

The centenarian was born in Pregnall, South Carolina on August 7, 1910. The location of the town can be best described as almost centrally located between St. George, Harleyille, and Ridgeville. Octavia was the fifth child of Adrian and Estelle Weathers, and had five brothers and four sisters. Her father farmed cotton and other crops and cut timber for a living. “He was a timber man, who cut and sold many crossties to the railroad companies,” she noted.

At 102, Octavia is still active within the community. In a dining room at the country club, she chatted with 13 friends as they celebrated yet another year of her vibrant life. One of her best friends, Rose Vella, commented, “I am so happy to see all of you ladies here today to honor Miss Octavia Kinsey, who celebrated her 102nd birthday only two days ago! She has always been a role model for each of us, not only because of her age, attitude, personality, mental and physical abilities, but most of all, for her great morals. She has not only talked the talk, but has walked the walk.”

Rose also recalled when the Dogwood Hills Ladies Association, which consisted of only Octavia, hosted the Lower South Carolina Women’s Golf Association monthly tournament. Rose noted that one of the attendees seemed to have “quite a four-letter word vocabulary,” and Octavia presented that woman with a dustpan as an incentive to help clean up her language.

Other attendees also commented on Octivia’s vibrant life. One woman commented on Octavia’s participating in the Lower State Ladies’ Golf Tournament in Manning at the age of 93. She drove back and forth to that event and did a good job of it.

Another woman stated that during another trip, Octavia commented that she had thought she was having health problems, adding she thought that it was heart-related. But she added she went home and took some Maalox, and the problem went away.

More than one woman said that, when they tried to help Octavia while on the golf course, she quickly corrected them. One woman tried to carry her golf club, and another wanted to pick up a golf ball. Each time, she told the woman that, when she can’t pick up her own ball or carry her own club, she would just quit playing.

Another time Octavia fell and injured her arm. She went to the doctor, and he informed her that a bone in her wrist was broken and it would have to put into a cast. He urged her to continue to play golf however, stating that the exercise would be good for her wrist. A friend said that, while her arm was in a cast, she hit the golf ball straighter than she ever had before. While still in a cast, she traveled to Florida with her son. While playing golf in Florida, she did very well.

Other guests commented on Octavia’s “sweet smile and her many words of kindness” for the people she knows.”  A friend noted, “She always has a kind word for everybody.”

Near the party’s end, Rose asked Octavia, “By the way, just what is your secret? Anyone who lives to be 102, still drives, can still hit the ball down fairway, putts like a demon, plays a wicked game of bridge, and takes no medication has got to have a secret. I think I have figured it out… do unto others as you would have others do unto you, honor thy father and mother and thy days will be long upon the earth.”