By: Sophia Hernandez | WCTV Eyewitness News
November 17, 2019
TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) – One Tallahassee woman is now a century old. Mrs. Thelma Gaines Lawrence celebrated 100 years of life, health and happiness on Saturday.
Lawrence is a retired teacher of Leon County Schools, and her late husband, Freeman Lawrence, was a principal of Lincoln High. The pair met when they were young, attending Lincoln High together, college and then becoming next door neighbors before finally getting married.
On Sunday morning, after the birthday festivities Saturday, she reminisces on her long and fulfilling life.
When asked how old she turned, she momentarily forgets, "60..100 years old," laughs Lawrence.
She was about to say 60, but does she feel 60? "No, I feel much younger than that."
At 100 years old, Thelma was surprised by family, friends, and former students on her special day, "It feels wonderful it feels good to know you have good friends and good relatives and what have you."
On Saturday, Lawrence had her very own birthday crown and cake, something she is extremely grateful for, "I want to live as long as the Lord will let me live. If it is tomorrow or the next day, whatever he has for me I want all of it, not a part of it."
Lawrence says she is living in the footsteps of her role model, her mother, who lived to be 90 years old. Although surpassing her by 10 years, the long time educator marvels at the impact that her long life has had on the children she has taught, "Now since I have retired so many people come by to see me, the people I taught. I did not have any idea that they were paying that much attention to me."
But niece Weida Tucker says it is a privilege to be loved and cared for by Lawrence,"Nothing surprised with me with how attached people are to her. She has lived a very, very, exemplary life."
Tucker continues, "She is just the picture of elegance, she has been the most poised, kind, loving and patient person I have ever known."
Lawrence says her key to staying youthful, is having a led a life based on the important things...faith, family, and lots of love, "I'm happy to know that I had a happy life and a beautiful life too."
Tucker phrases it best, "I can guarantee you if she lived until she was 110 she would never say I am ready to leave this Earth, she would say, I am ready for one more day."