HAMLIN, Texas (KTAB/KRBC) – On October 9, 1918 Pansy Hale was born in Roby, Texas. 105 years later, she’s celebrating her birthday in 2023 alongside friends at Homeplace Manor in Hamlin. Staff brought cake, decorations, and presents as she visited with her two sons.

“Everybody’s been waiting for this moment for like two weeks,” said Occupational Therapist Rosa Smith.

Smith called Hale is a bright spot at the home. She’s often spotted in the lobby watching westerns, talking with her fellow residents, and greeting guests as they enter. Smith told KTAB/KRBC Homeplace Manor wanted to make sure Hale’s achievement of over a century of life lived did not go unnoticed.

“To make it to her age, that’s phenomenal,” Smith marveled, “especially after what the whole world has gone through; the pandemic and things like that.”

In fact, COVID-19 would be the second pandemic Hale lived through. She was born into the first year of the infamous Spanish Flu, a virus that was present for the first two years of her life.

“I appreciate this population, they’re full of wisdom,” said Smith with gratitude.

At her age, Hale is not able to verbally communicate as well as she once was able, but that doesn’t stop her from getting a point across. Smith said she and the other staff still build wonderful bonds with the residents by getting to know their forms of communication.

“We try to communicate with the residents on all the levels that they’re able to. So, what’s normal for us, this might be her normal,” Smith explained.

Before and after my interview with Smith, I sat and spoke with Hale as well.

While she was not able to verbalize much, she did thank me for coming out, let me know how good it was to chat, and told me about a cat she saw crossing in front of the building just before I arrived.

“I’m always asking them, when they’re up in that age, like, ‘what’s your secret,'” added Smith.

Although Hale was not able to divulge any secrets of longevity, her son did say that as a lifelong homemaker, she always kept family close to the heart. You have to believe that surrounding yourself with love does wonders to your state of mind.