Finding something to do for 104 years for most people is hard. Elizabeth Emma Reynolds's motto for life is, “Find something you love to do and just do it.”
Reynolds said she loves people and has spent the last 104 years being a servant to them. Reynolds celebrated her 104th birthday with cake and presentations on Tuesday at Denison Nursing and Rehabilitation Center.
“She was a servant and God is her father,” nephew Richard Reynolds said. “Then everything else came next.”
Elizabeth Reynolds was born on Dec. 26, 1913 in Bells. She lived in the home she was born in until she moved into nursing home care in 2012.
“I do not remember my favorite dish that she used to make, but I remember her red beans and cornbread,” Richard Reynolds said. “They had a great love for dogs. I always remember going over to my aunt's house and playing with the dogs.”
While Elizabeth Reynolds and her husband of more than 60 years, Elmer, did not have any children of their own, they helped raise their nieces and nephews. Elizabeth Reynolds has also been known as a “mother” to children that attended Antioch Baptist Church in Bells.
“I have so many memories of her and of her taking me to church,” niece Mary Katherine Reynolds-Groiner said. “I remember going to town with her to shop. She loved her church. I have friends who remember her as their first Sunday school teacher.”
Along with being a Sunday school teacher, Elizabeth Reynolds helped tend to family animals. She was also a homemaker.
“Once a cow got upset while I was trying to milk her,” she said. “I broke five ribs and had some other bruises too.”
Elizabeth Reynolds is also known for the advice that she still gives to her family.
“Not too long ago my nephew came to me and said that his dogs had been bitten by a copper head snake,” she said. “I told him that I had just read about something and I was not sure that it worked, but we could try it. To help with the swelling and venom from the snake, you can feed the animal a little bit of cooked animal fat.”
Reynolds-Groiner, along with other children, received hand-made clothing from Elizabeth Reynolds, who used to make bonnets, hats, coats and other items.
“I remember her making clothes for me and trying them on,” Reynolds-Groiner said. “She made dresses when I was younger. She used to say, 'Stand still Mary Katherine.' She called me Mary Katherine when she was serious.”
Richard Reynolds said that his aunt probably has lived this long because of how well she has treated other people.
“I was luck enough to know her parents,” he said. “She made them proud. She honored her parents and it was important to pass that respect down to other people.”
He also said that she would always give a helping hand wherever she went and that people around Bells knew her as the lady that helped.
“She has been part of my life forever,” Reynolds-Groiner said. “I cannot remember a day without Aunt Elizabeth because she was just a big part of my life. She is the most loving person. She does not have to say it. She shows it. You just know you were loved from the minute she comes around you. She loves God and she loves the church too.”