Elizabeth Lemaster walks into the back room of Hope Family Medical Center Friday, January 28, doing something most people will never do.
She is showing up for her 100th birthday party.
Leaving at home her cane she usually carries, Lemaster walks into the room decorated with pink balloons and streamers and catered with a feast fit for Thanksgiving.
Many of her family members file in behind her, just a “drop in the bucket” of how many there are. Fourteen of her sixteen children are still living, as well as more than 140 grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great-grandchildren and great-great-great-grandchildren. Lost count? That’s five generations living, with more great-great-great-grandchildren on the way!
Lemaster, a Meade before she married Sonny Lemaster in 1928 (who died in the 1980s), is one of 15 children, with one brother still living in Baltimore, Maryland, at the young age of 92.
Born in Paintsville, Lemaster moved to Litteral when she was 17, the same year she got married. Her husband worked in the oil field and she was a stay-at-home mom. Her oldest child turns 82 this year.
As for advice to others hoping to tap into the fountain of youth like Lemaster, she says, “Just work, eat good, be happy and take care of yourself.”
Lemaster, a member of the Flat Fork Freewill Baptist Church, says church has been a huge factor of her well-being.
“Life ain’t work a nickel if you can’t go to church – sit at the house and have nothing to do,” she says.
Lemaster says she has been coming to the Hope Family Medical Center for so long, it’s like coming home and she was tickled to have them throw her a party.
Assistant Director of Nursing for Big Sandy Health Care Angeleia Conley said Lemaster has been coming to Hope since the early 1990s, so she asked a couple of Lemaster’s children if they could throw a party for her, and they agreed to bring her and the CEO for Hope agreed to the party, finalizing the plans for the 100th bash.
“Most people would love to be as healthy as she is,” Conley said. “She’s always full of good cheer – very kind and very gentle. If every one of our patients were like her, we’d be very lucky.”