By Kay Weaver

Watson Smith recently joined an exclusive group of 100-year-old or older citizens with ties to the city of Shirley, which turned 100 years old itself in 2011.

Those centenarians are:

Pierre Chambers, born Sept. 30, 1911. Chambers is a remarkable man, standing over 6 feet tall, with beautiful white hair, expressive blue eyes and a heart of pure gold. He is, without doubt, the most distinguished, courteous Christian gentleman around these parts. He is a role model for all, a great conversationalist, knowledgeable, loving and helpful to others with his kind words of encouragement for all. He lived in Shirley for many years, but now resides with his daughter, Mary Porter, in Clinton. He spends time at the Shirley and Clinton senior centers.

Virginia Maddox, born April 7, 1911, moved here from Georgia. She lives independently and visits the Shirley center on a regular basis. Her children and friends do their best to keep up with this amazing senior citizen. Her faith in God and love of family have sustained her across these many years of loving, losing, change and growth. She is a true Southern lady, one to be admired.

Watson Smith, born March 11, 1913, is the baby of the group. He has been around this area most of his life. He taught school at Shirley for more than 40 years and was a member of the original committee to form the Shirley Senior Citizens Center. He always has a story of the day. He gives words of wisdom to some and foolishness to others. He never met anyone he couldn’t talk to. Watson lives in his home in Shirley, surrounded by family and friends.

Pearl Mahaney has the distinction of being the group’s oldest member, born on Oct. 31, 1910. She has made a place for herself in this world and raised a wonderful family. They are the center of her life and she is the centerpiece of her family. She will be remembered as the "winning domino queen" at the Shirley center. Pearl is now living at Ozark Health Nursing Center where she continues to play dominoes and checkers. Her energizing smile, caring attitude and positive influence is a joy to those around her.

All four of these folks have witnessed milestones in our nation’s history and their lives represent an important part of the American story. As they reflect upon a century of memories, we can only hope they are filled with tremendous pride and joy. We wish them health and happiness for the rest of their lives.