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Hall woman marks 105 years of blessings

Laura Ann ‘Grandmother’ Poole embraces family, friends and a lifetime of memories

POSTED: April 20, 2013 9:36 p.m.

In 1908, Theodore Roosevelt was president, World War I hadn’t yet begun, airplanes and cars had just recently been invented and the Chicago Cubs won their last World Series.

Since then, the United States has had 18 presidents, fought in two world wars and people have been into space and the moon many times over, while tablets and smartphones have become front-runners in technological advancement.
Now, imagine living through all of this and celebrating your 105th birthday.

On Thursday, Laura Ann “Grandmother” Poole experienced that, marking birthday No. 105. Born April 18, 1908, she has lived in Hall County her entire life.

Poole worked on a farm as a kid and sang and played piano in church along with her father. She attended the Latty School, a one-room schoolhouse that still stands on Latty Road in the East Hall area. She has also seen the birth of her great-great-great grandchild, which has given her family now six living generations.

Saturday, she gathered with family and friends at The Oaks at Limestone to celebrate the milestone.

“I’ve enjoyed life. I’ve always loved everybody,” she said. “I really have enjoyed it. I have so many family and friends. I just love all of them. I love everyone in the world. I can’t help it.”

Poole recalled the first time she saw an airplane. She was working in the field as a child, and when she saw the plane in the sky, she said, “I thought the Lord was coming back.”

She said she enjoys watching University of Georgia football games with company, because it’s the company she enjoys, not the game that she said she doesn’t understand.

Laura has four children, two still alive. Her husband of 32 years, Vasco Poole, died Aug. 26, 1960. She has 14 grandchildren, 25 great-grandchildren, 13 great-great-grandchildren and a great-great-great-grandchild.

She’s also the oldest-living member of Timberidge Baptist Church. Laura said church was a big part of her childhood, and her parents made sure she and her brothers and sisters ever missed church.

“I loved to go to church, even when we always had to walk,” she said. “My mom and dad never let us kids miss church, but I never wanted to miss anyway.”

For Poole’s family, her 105th birthday was astonishing, and it also made them reflect on the memories they’ve shared with her.

“It blows my mind,” said her oldest son, 83-year old J.E. Poole. “Today’s my 62nd wedding anniversary, and not many people can celebrate their mother’s 105th birthday and 62nd wedding anniversary all in the same day. ... I couldn’t believe she made it this far. She kept saying ‘I can’t believe the Lord let me live this long.’”

J.E. Poole said his mother taught him to tell the truth, and credits for being the biggest influence in his life.
J.E.’s brother, Bobby Poole, also reflected on his mother turning 105.

“It’s unreal,” he said. “I never thought she’d make it to be 105. She was a good cook and she looked after us four boys really well. She taught us right from wrong. She has been a really good mother.”

Lindsay Whidby, 15, is one Laura’s 13 great-great-grandchildren. She said her and her mom, Gina Whidby, used to go over and watch Poole on Saturdays when she was growing up. Now, she views her great-great-grandmother in a different light.

“105 is a lot,” Lindsay said. “She’s been through a lot. She’s been through different presidents, historical times. She told us about the depressions, and she told us the airplane story.”

“When I was younger, I remember being at her house for Easter, gathering around on the piano and singing,” Gina Whidby said. “And you never went over to her house without eating.”

Gina, a great-granddaughter, said of Poole, “God still has got her here for a purpose. She’s always touched lives. Maybe, God’s allowing her to still do his work.”

Kenneth Poole, Laura Poole’s grandson from Cape Canaveral, Fla., came up for the celebration. He said growing up in Florida, he’d come back to Georgia every summer and spend several months with his grandmother. He said he and his closest cousin always had fun spending their time together with her.

His favorite memory with his was when she dressed like a ghost to scare him and his cousin, saying, “She came in with a sheet over her, and was saying, ‘boo’. My cousin went to grab the sheet, and said, ‘Grandma, I hope that’s you.’ ... I was by the window. I had an escape route.”

On her celebrating her 105th birthday, Kenneth Poole said, “It means she has lived a good, honest life, and the Lord’s blessed her for it.”


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