By Betsy Finklea
Ona Booth Gaddy of Lake View has reached a milestone birthday turning 100 years old on January 14, 2023. When asked what the secret to reaching this milestone birthday is, she said that she’s been “so fortunate” and that “God has been with me.” She is the last one left in her immediate family except for her daughter, Brenda, who is 75 years old and for whom Mrs. Gaddy has been her lifelong caretaker.
Mrs. Gaddy went to Piney Grove Baptist Church, where her husband, Aaron, was a member. She met Aaron in eighth grade, and she recalled he winked his eye at her, but she was having nothing to do with it. She said he was fat and chubby.
In high school, she went with him to the Junior/Senior banquet, and he charmed her there, but she was still keeping her options open.
Her mother and father got a farm in Florence. She stayed with her aunt and finished her education in Lake View in 1937 before joining her parents in Florence.
She said that Aaron found her in Florence. She would only date him on Saturday nights because on Sundays, she would see another young man; however, Aaron eventually won her over, and on July 12, 1944, they got married. They were married for 72 years and seven months until Aaron’s death at the age of 94 on February 13, 2017. She said she misses Aaron, and until the day he died, he was not bedridden.
Aaron joined the United States Air Force and served during World War II. She said he was color blind and was transferred to the Army without knowing it, but he did what he had to do.
The Gaddys were lifelong farmers and caretakers of their daughter, Brenda, who had cerebral palsy. Mrs. Gaddy said wherever they went, Brenda went.
In 2010, the Gaddys were awarded the Palmetto Patriot award by Lt. Gov. Andre Bauer for their “dedication to the community, their unwavering commitment to their daughter, Brenda, and for their dedication to their Creator.”
She is also very appreciative of her niece, Laura Winston, who she said is a blessing.
Mrs. Gaddy said that the Lord has been good to her and has really looked after her and Brenda.
By Betsy Finklea