MERIDIAN — Special to The Star
Although Mrs. Lola Martin’s family celebrates her birthday as being March 12, 1905, her birth date on record is April 18, 1905.
This past Friday, April 18, 2014, five generations of Mrs. Lola’s family, numerous friends from her native Clarke County, fellow residents and staff of James T. Champion Nursing Facility (JTCNF,) and Charles Carlisle, East MS State Hospital (EMSH) director gathered in the dining hall of JTCNF to celebrate 109 years of Mrs. Lola’s life!
Mrs. Martin, admitted to EMSH’s R.P. White Nursing Facility on Oct. 26, 2006, has been a resident of EMSH’s Nursing Home Division for seven and a half years. She came to Meridian from her native Clarke County when the H.C. Watkins Memorial Hospital Nursing Facility in Quitman, where she had resided since June 10, 2002, closed.
Born in Melvin, Ala., to Arnet and Ava Daugherty, Mrs. Lola is one of 15 siblings. Her father was a baptist minister and during her upbringing, she was taught to love the Lord and she has served Him well.
At the birthday celebration on Friday, guests, led by EMSH’s Chaplain Gary Dover, serenaded Mrs. Lola with the singing of her favorite hymns, "Amazing Grace" and "Heavenly Sunlight."
Not to be outdone by the musical renditions (of which she partook and never missed a word) Mrs. Lola then sang a native Indian Maiden song called "Little Mawhee." With a strong voice and total recall, Mrs. Lola sang for almost a full two minutes.
Married to Lawrence A. Martin, now deceased, Mrs. Lola lived and raised her family in Stonewall where she was a store clerk and a homemaker. She is the mother of three children: Daphne (now deceased,) Jewel Hurt Irby of Stonewall and a son, Bobby of Meridian.
She has six grandchildren, five great grandchildren and one great great grandchild. Among those family members present for the birthday celebration were her living daughter, Jewel, who offered reflections of Mrs. Lola’s life, her son-in-law Terry, who shared birthday greetings from Gov. Phil Bryant, her son, Bobby, her granddaughter, Donna Sharp (Daphne’s daughter) of Long Beach, her great granddaughter Erin Hurt Cooke of Mobile and her great great grandson, Luke Cooke.
Mrs. Lola is very alert and very active. She often makes her wishes known that she wants to go home to Stonewall.
“Take me home to Stonewall, I’ll do you proud” is uttered often to Judd Nance, JTCNF Administrator and his staff, and when asked her age, her favorite reply is “sweet sixteen and my mother’s pet; hadn’t been kissed by the right man yet!”