Madison Village resident turns 101

By Nick Sellers | Staff Writer

With all that can happen in 101 years, Hazel Longbrake has seen it all and weathered every storm life could throw her way, and so there she sat on June 16 at Madison Village Retirement Community celebrating her 101st birthday.

Longbrake celebrated with a cake, ice cream, more than a few well-wishing cards and a handful of family members, including sons, daughters, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

“We always tell people she is the best resident, and it’s true,” Jill Benefield, Madison Village administrator, said. “She does exercise every day.”

After fellow residents, family members and Madison Village employees sang Longbrake “Happy Birthday,” two of Longbrake’s great-grandchildren from performed a rendition of the song on violin.

When asked how it felt to turn 101, Longbrake more or less kept things even-keeled.

“Just about the same,” she said.

In her younger days, Longbrake was a real-life “Rosie the Riveter” near Terre Haute, Ind. Her daughter, Jan Priest, explained how Longbrake helped prepare airplanes for combat overseas during World War II in a refrigerator factory-turned plane manufacturer.

“She weighed 95 pounds back then, so she could climb up into the planes and rivet them,” Priest said.

Her days working on airplanes were some of the few she spent working, but Longbrake gave back to her community by teaching Sunday school to 4-and 5-year-olds for 20 years.

Around 15 years ago, Longbrake relocated to the Huntsville area to be closer to her daughter, Priest, and now lives in Madison Village.

“She has a really positive outlook overall,” Benefield said. “She never complains or even focuses on a health issue.”

Longbrake is one of 56 total residents for Madison Village, which is located on Wall-Triana Highway just north of Highway 72.

 

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