In Dec. 4 IssueBy Derek AaronTimes Journal Reporter
One hundred years is a long time by the world’s standards but one Russell Springs man has lived a century and shows no signs of slowing down.
Avery L. Lawson turned 100 years old on Thanksgiving Day and celebrated his monumental achievement last Saturday with family and friends at the Russell County Fairgrounds Park.
Lawson, who amazingly still drives and just recently renewed his driver’s license, greeted the healthy crowd with smiles and stories as people poured into the party to deliver gifts, share stories and congratulate him on hitting the century mark.
The Russell County Jaycees presented Lawson with a plaque commemorating the moment and named a section of road at the fairgrounds Avery Circle, a road that will see approximately 45,000 people travel it come Russell County Fair time this coming summer.
Lawson, who has worked both as a public servant and school teacher, said he was thrilled that so many of his friends and family could make it out to his 100th birthday party.
He said he was very happy to see so many friends that took time out of their Thanksgiving weekend to personally send him birthday wishes. He also said he had received more than 160 birthday cards as well as numerous presents from Russell County businesses.
Lawson’s granddaughter Edna Sharp, one of the party’s organizers, said she was well pleased at the turnout on Saturday morning.
“We asked him the secret to living a long life and he said ‘I mind my own business, I eat good and I’ve always worked hard,’” Sharp said.
She said that Lawson has only been in the hospital once in his lifetime and that came last year when he began feeling bad.
Upon a visit to the hospital, it was found out that he had been moving concrete blocks at age 99 and had weakened himself that way.
“We’ve truly been blessed,” she said. “He doesn’t take any medicine except for maybe an occasional Claritin for his allergies.”
She said Lawson fixes his own breakfast each day and does most everything for himself.
“He takes care of all his personal things,” she said. “His mind is sharper than mine.”
Sharp said Lawson has never used a calculator for his statements and does all the figuring and calculations in his head to this day.
One of Lawson’s former students, Gradith Stephens, attended the gathering and brought with him two of his grade cards for 1939 and 1940 in which Lawson had signed off on his grades. Stephens said Lawson taught him in the second and third grades and was an excellent teacher.
“He was very strict,” Stephens said. “It was his way or no way and we respected him for that.”
Stephens said Lawson rode a horse to school every day to Parks Ridge, rain or shine.
Stephens also recalled Lawson teaching grades 1-8 in the one room Russell County schoolhouse.
The grade card showed the excellent penmanship of Lawson as noted by his grandson, Timmy.
“His writing is still that way,” he said.
Larry Holt, owner of Holt’s Racing Stables and a longtime friend of Lawson’s said he believed Lawson to be the oldest man in Russell County and that it was amazing to see someone of his age still on the go as he is.
So now it is 100 years and counting for Avery Lawson as he is Russell County’s newest centenarian and from the way it looks, he shows no signs of slowing down any time soon.