Three centenarians reflect on longevity
Aug 20, 2013 | 4091 views | 0 0 comments | 349 349 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lorene Underhill, Rachel Siress and Frankie Hurt
Lorene Underhill, Rachel Siress and Frankie Hurt
By Chris Wilcox

Tribune-Courier News Reporter

Three women with Marshall County ties, born within a month of one another, will celebrate a century of life this year.

These women each attribute their longevity to God, family and friends.

Frankie Conner Hurt, of Hardin, Rachel Siress, of Benton, and Lorene Underhill, of Murray – formerly of Land Between the Lakes, were born within a month’s time in 1913.

Lorene Underhill

August 7th

Underhill, formerly of Land Between the Lakes, was born on Aug. 7, 1913, and celebrated her 100th birthday with a party on Sunday, Aug. 4, at Elm Grove Baptist Church.

Underhill was born on the same day as her father, Felix Grundy, and has a daughter that shares the same birthday as well.

Underhill was married to Taylor Underhill for 45 years before his death in 1977.

The couple lived in Golden Pond before moving to Calloway County.

She said her long life is attributed to God, her need to keep moving and incredible genes.

Her father was alive for 98 years, one month shy of being 99. Her uncle lived to be 102 and her brother lived to 100.

Underhill’s hobbies and interests include reading her Bible, cooking, working with her flowers and spending time with her family.

She is the mother of seven children, and has 12 grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and three great-great grandchildren.

Rachel Siress

August 15th

Siress was born in Benton, but moved to Lone Oak in 1976. She now lives at the Stilley House in Benton, where she has lived for the last year and a half.

Siress was married to Edgar Siress, a local Methodist minister, for 65 years before his death in 1995.

Her husband formerly worked at the Illinois Central Railroad before being called to the ministry.

He served as minister of Lone Oak United Methodist Church, Arcadia United Methodist Church and the former Northside United Methodist Church.

Siress is the oldest member of Lone Oak United Methodist Church and attributes her longevity to her love for God.

Siress visits with her children daily and enjoys eating out.

Siress has three living siblings: Wanda Little and Pauline Siress, both of Benton, and Ruby Lovett of Mayfield.

She is the mother of four children, and has 14 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren and 11 great-great-grandchildren.

Siress celebrated with a party on Saturday at Benton United Methodist Church.

Frankie Conner Hurt

September 3rd

Hurt was born in Wadesboro, an unincorporated community on the fringe of Marshall County, but moved to Hardin in 1933 when she married her husband Dayton Hurt, a local farmer and carpenter.

She was born on Sept. 3, 1913, and married Dayton when she was 19 years old.

The couple had spent nearly 60 years together when Dayton died in 1992, but Hurt said their life together was one of excitement.

Hurt was a homemaker all of her life and has always planted a garden and flowerbeds. This is the first year that she has not grown her own produce, not because she can’t, but because her neighbor provides it to her.

She still planted her flowerbeds this year, and maintains a yard that homeowners who are much younger envy.

Hurt’s family is planning a celebration for her 100 years in Marshall County, which will take place at 2 p.m. on Sept. 1 at the Hardin Community Center.

Hurt lives alone in Hardin and does her own shopping, cooking, yard work and housework.

When asked about her longevity she said she never had much sickness. Hurt has had two surgeries during her century-long life, one 60 years ago and another at age 97 as an outpatient procedure.

Hurt never had children, but has two living nephews.

While all three women have adjusted easily to the changes that have occurred over the past century, they each will admit that there are very few things today that are similar to how they were when they were children.

Each remembers the region before the Tennessee Valley Authority created Kentucky Lake in 1944 and how that change made the community grow.

Persons 65 and older make up 20 percent of the Marshall County population according to the 2010 census, and persons under 18 make up another 20 percent of the population for the county.
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