Houston Centenarian: 107-year-old Faye Tucker
ADVICE FROM A GREAT GREAT GRANDMOTHER
by Bernadette Verzosa
The year was 1907.
President Theodore Roosevelt was in the White House. Magician Harry Houdini was captivating audiences worldwide. Poet Rudyard Kipling won the Nobel Prize.
It was also the year that Houstonian Faye Tucker was born.
Tucker is now 107 years old. Spirited, stylish and sage, her daily routine is a mix of the old and the new. Each morning, she solves a crossword puzzle, exercises and reads the Houston Chronicle from front cover to back cover. Later in the day, she sends text messages and uses her iPad to shop online. In fact, she purchases her face cream, and bought her roller walker from Amazon.
The family matriarch also checks her Facebook page to keep up with her clan that includes a daughter, 4 grandchildren, 9 great grandchildren and 7 great great grandchildren.
“I love to be with them,” she says with her sharp blue eyes beaming. “I’m crazy about them.”
This centenarian has lived through many remarkable moments in American history from Pearl Harbor to Apollo 11 to the rise and fall of the Twin Towers. She has witnessed the advent of commercial aviation and the evolution of television. She has seen generations of Hollywood movie stars shine and fade, as the film genre shifted from silent to silver to color to 3D.
But ask her about her own personal highlights of the past century, and she definitively replies, “The births of my grandchildren – those are the big times for me!”
FIVE GENERATIONS & A HOME BIRTH
And so, on many Sundays, Tucker dresses in her favorite designer clothes for five-generation family dinners. Her great granddaughter Kimberly Harrington says they prepare gourmet feasts with healthy and savory dishes though Tucker is not a picky eater. “She seems immortal. My grandmother’s energy is upbeat and unstoppable,” says Harrington. “She is nonjudgmental. She is practical, loyal and loving. She has taught us that with all relationships, love is what matters.”
Longevity seems to be in the genes for this family. Tucker’s 80-plus-year-old daughter Helene Atlas visits her mom everyday.
Tucker recalls her daughter’s birth, “She was born at home. My mother delivered her. We didn’t get to the hospital. I was 22. When she was a baby, I dressed her up and wanted to show her off all the time.”
Tucker’s earliest childhood memories include watching firefighters with horse-drawn fire engines and playing with paper dolls. “And my mom used to wash on a board and hang outside to dry. We didn’t get a washing machine until I was 17 years old.”
ADVICE FOR A LONG LIFE
Centenarians have a general reputation of being social, easy-going, open-minded and optimistic. And Faye Tucker fits that personality mold (she relishes racy novels as much as classics) but with a special twist – she adds her own splash of charm and grace.
What’s her secret to longevity?
“I don’t worry about a thing,” she says. “No regrets, no stress.” Her only advice: “Live clean – no smoking, moderate drinking and exercise.”
For now, she is awaiting the arrival of two more great great grandchildren. Her family is hoping she continues to defy the odds and reaches the age of 110 or more, becoming a supercentenarian!