By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal
IUKA – “Make each day a productive one” could be the motto of 94-year-old Calvin Seay of Iuka.
For more than 70 years Seay has gone to work five days a week at Jourdan Lumber Co.
Then on the weekends he works Saturdays helping keep up the grounds at Jones Chapel Christian Methodist Episcopal Church, where each Sunday finds him serving in his role as a deacon.
With his 95th birthday less than two weeks away – Sept. 8 – Seay doesn’t find any reason to slow down.
“I get the most pleasure out of working,” he said.
Seay has been widowed since his wife Mollie died in 1995, but though he continues to live independently in his own home, his niece Teresa Long lives across the street and provides back-up when necessary.
One of those times came a few years ago when Seay was having problems with his left leg. He was hospitalized briefly, and his months-long recovery was followed by another six months or more of physical therapy. Now he’s just as active as before.
“I don’t know what I’d do with my time if I didn’t have a job and projects to work on every day,” Seay said.
Seay is a very social person as well.
He was looking forward to attending a church picnic at J.P. Coleman State Park over the weekend. And any time there’s a dinner party or celebration, he’s there.
“I have lots of friends and family who make sure to include me in things and I really enjoy myself,” he said.
Seay also makes sure to spend time with his older sister, 96-year-old Mary “Emmalean” Dilworth of Iuka. Until the past year or so the two of them would attend church together, with Seay picking her up to give her a ride.
“She was the oldest and I was the second oldest, so we’ve always been close,” he said.
Seay’s father farmed when he was a child, but he began working for Jourdan Lumber Co. as a young man. He left Iuka for a time to work on the Fontana Dam in North Carolina, but returned to work at Jourdan’s a few years later. He married Mollie Carter Seay from Alabama, and they had no children.
He has been a forklift operator and delivered building supplies when Jourdan’s had a retail store in downtown Iuka many years ago, but now he’s responsible for general housekeeping at the lumber mill.
“It’s a good life, and I thank God for every day he gives me,” Seay said.