Ocilla woman shares secrets to longevity

Ocilla woman shares secrets to longevity

OCILLA, GA (WALB) - Talk about history when you meet someone born during a time when William Taft was president and the Titanic sunk.

The adage wisdom comes with age was true for one woman who was very possibly Ocilla’s oldest resident.

The small city only has 3,600 people.

Behind the doors of Palemon Gaskins Nursing home sat one of the oldest.

Ms. Sally Rowland ate cheetos and drank Coca Cola every day, sometimes twice a day, but she was not sure if that’s her secret to longevity.

Sally Rowland, lived to be 108 years old (Source: WALB)
Sally Rowland, lived to be 108 years old (Source: WALB)

“I don’t know whether it is or not, but I’ve been living 108 years,” said Sally Rowland.

Rowland, 108, was one of the newest people members to call this retirement community home.

Her daughter, Nancy Kimball 84, lives at her own home in Ocilla and took care of her mom for years, but needed more help.

“Mama has always lived a good life. And she’s always taken care of herself and she’s not abused herself in any way,” said Kimball.

Hard of hearing, difficulty seeing, but heart and body are good otherwise. Ms. Sally even has her original teeth.

Born in Ludowici, near Savannah, in 1910 when she got married to her husband Cecil in 1932 she moved to Fitzgerald.

It was just a few years before World War II erupted.

“You know about World War II don’t you,” questioned Rowland.

“From the history books but not from you,” I answered. We laughed for a moment.

“It was pretty rough going. We had to have stamps for shoes,” she said.

Everything was rationed for the soldiers fighting overseas, but her husband wasn’t drafted.

“His feet were too small. He wore a three and half,” she laughed.

Sally Rowland and daughter, Nancy Kimball, talking just a few days before Sally died (Source: WALB)
Sally Rowland and daughter, Nancy Kimball, talking just a few days before Sally died (Source: WALB)

“They said he couldn’t walk or patrol 60 miles a day because his feet would give out on him,” Rowland said completely seriously.

Having her husband in the U.S., she was able to have Nancy, her only child and greatest accomplishment, who blessed her with grandchildren and great grandchildren.

She hoped her family has her genes of longevity.

“I hope that everybody will be well and happy.”

Sadly, Ms. Sally died Tuesday morning, December 11, but it was a privilege to get to meet her last week.

She told staff at the nursing home that she was ready to go on Monday, joking all her friends would be wondering if she were in hell because she hadn’t showed up yet.

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