Lebanon Senior Citizens Center lost its oldest member Friday.
Sadie Cloyd was 107 years old.
Cloyd was born in Carthage in 1906 – one of six children – but lived in Lebanon for most of her life.
“Somebody asked her how come she lived so long, and she said ‘cause I’m mean,’” said Cloyd’s niece, Paula Henley, laughing.
“She loved that she was the oldest one,” said Teresa Hightower, events coordinator at the senior center. “Everybody here just loved her.”
The Wilson County centenarian was a frequent sight at the senior center.
“Going to the Lebanon Senior Citizens Center was her life,” said Henley.
“She liked to sit at the front of the room so that she saw everybody when they came in,” said Hightower. “She wanted to speak to everybody.”
Cloyd spent nearly every day at the senior center, even volunteering when she was able. In fact, she was a nominee for the Catherine Strobel Volunteer Award in Nashville.
“This lady never stayed home; she was on the go all the time,” said Henley.
An avid singer, Cloyd sang whenever she had the chance.
“When she started out at the center, they had a group called the Senior Belles,” said Henley. “They would go and sing at nursing homes and stuff.”
She also sang in church choirs.
When Cloyd competed in the Miss Senior Tennessee pageant in 1994, she sang “He Touched Me,” during the talent portion.
She was also an accomplished quilter, volunteering for a time with the center’s quilting group.
Cloyd worked at the Lebanon Woolen Mills for 40 years.
“She talked about when the maneuvers were going on, they had to make military blankets for the soldiers,” said Henley.
Cloyd’s ex-husband was a soldier in World War II.
“She was married for a short period and then divorced, but that was way before I was born,” said Henley. “She took back her maiden name. Everybody thinks she’s never been married because she didn’t have a husband and she didn’t ever have any kids…She’d say ‘I was married; I’m not an old maid.”
Cloyd was by all accounts fiercely independent.
She lived by herself up to 2012, when she moved into Quality Healthcare Center in Lebanon.
“She was her own boss,” said Henley.
“When she did quit driving [at about 103 years old], she made it known that it was her decision; nobody made her quit driving,” said Hightower. “She was an amazing little lady. She was very independent, very strong-willed – she just loved life.”
And even though Cloyd lived a healthy, long life, she didn't quite eclipse the record for the oldest living woman born in Tennessee, or the world, for that matter.
Besse Cooper died Dec. 4 at 116 years, 100 days old.
Cooper, the eighth person on record and only fourth American to reach the age of 116, gives way to Dina Manfredini as the oldest living person. Manfredini is 115 years, 243 days old and lives in Johnston, Iowa.
Cooper, who lived in Park Place Nursing Home in Monroe, Ga., was born Aug. 26, 1896, in Sullivan and moved to Georgia in the 1920s.
The Walton, Ga. Tribune contributed to this report