Miss Letha was born 100 years ago today, March 30, 1916. She’s seen a lot in her 100 years. Born and raised in Lake City, Miss Letha moved south for better employment opportunities. She was aboard a Greyhound bus headed to St. Petersburg on the very day President Franklin Delano Roosevelt called “a date that will live in infamy.” Miss Letha and the rest of her fellow passengers were changing buses in Gainesville when they learned that the Japanese had bombed Pearl Harbor. This incredible story from nearly 75 years ago is but one example of her unique experiences.
A resident of Trinity House Apartments since 2010, Miss Letha is a beloved resident and an example of why Catholic Charities employees do what they do to support the elderly living in the apartments they supervise and manage. To evidence why she is so beloved, when asked who her best friends are , Miss Letha replied, “Everyone is my best friend.” During her special 100th birthday party, where she was serenaded with a rousing chorus of ‘Happy Birthday’ by staff and her fellow residents, Miss Letha intoned she owed her longevity “to the man upstairs.” “Every morning when I wake up, I said to God: ‘You brought me to another day. A day I’ve never seen before and I will never see again. And I know you will lead me on. I am in your care.” When questioned about how it felt to be one hundred years old, Miss Letha quickly replied: “I feel good. I don’t feel like a hundred.”
Miss Letha shared one special story that helps to define her by shedding light on how and why she became a Christian: “I wasn’t living a life that wasn’t pleasing to God. One night, I had a dream and he said I got to let you know what hell is like. The next morning, I lit the oven and there was an explosion.” Miss Letha was hospitalized and eventually recovered, but when she did she committed her self to living a life that would be pleasing to God. That commitment lives on to this day as a member of Bethel Community Church. We at Catholic Charities are proud to be in some way a small part of her wonderful story.