104 years and counting

The seven candles on Alma Corder’s birthday cake belied her true age. “Yes, a few are missing,” acknowledged Dot Rieves, who helped throw “just a little bit of a party” for her friend on March 13, the day before Corder’s 104th birthday.

“Can you believe that? 104,” hostess Gladys Randle said. “She is so alert.”

At her birthday celebration, the guest of honor talked about how it feels to be 104.

“Well, to me it feels great,” Corder said. “I’ve had a wonderful life.”

The secret to her longevity is hard work, she said, whispering with a smile that “I left off drinking and smoking.”

Her friends laughed at the joke.

“I have known her a long time,” said Ruth Fitts, who’ll soon be 87. “I think that she enjoys life and that shows. She’s got a great sense of humor.”

Corder does have a serious side, and offered another answer about her long life.

“Well, try to think positive, and of course ask the Lord to help you and thank him for all his blessings,” she said.

Corder is the oldest member of the Fidelis Sunday school class – which organized the party – at Harrisburg Baptist Church.

“She used to do our trips for the church, and we’d have the best time,” Randle said. “We’ve been on many trips together with the Merrymakers. That’s the senior adult group at our church.”

Corder said she coordinated the trips for about eight years.

“We saw many wonderful places and made friends,” she said. “We saw Alaska, Hawaii, the Mall of America and many other interesting places in our country.”

Tim Alexander is minister of education at Harrisburg Baptist Church.

“I think she’s fantastic,” Alexander said about Corder. “She just has a real sharp mind.”

A former office manager at North Mississippi Medical Center, Corder retired from the hospital in 1970 as assistant administrator.

“She is such an extraordinary person,” Rieves said. “She got her bachelor’s degree in her 60s.”

Corder said she’s seen many changes over the years.

“I remember the first automobile, the first airplane, the first paper clips,” she said.

The only regret Corder named is “that I don’t know anything about something everybody uses every day.”

“Oh, mercy,” she said about computers. “I don’t know a thing about ’em, and I’m not going to try to learn. I’m afraid to touch ’em.”

Contact Ginny Miller at (662) 678-1582 or ginny.miller@djournal.com.

Ginny Miller/Daily Journal

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