‘Everybody’s grandma’ celebrates 100 years

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Granville's Jean Whitney just before her 100th birthday.

Get ready to be surrounded by loved ones, sing and blow out the candles!

Granville’s Jean Whitney is accustomed to this process, as she approaches her 100th birthday on Feb. 5.

Whitney is a lifelong resident of Granville, currently residing at Holbrook Adult Home, who enjoys playing cards, crocheting and spending time with friends, her three children, 10 grandchildren and 11 great-grandchildren.

“My children mean an awful lot to me,” Whitney said.

She can often be seen at the nursing home contributing any way she can, as she loves to make homemade rolls, do laundry, iron clothes and set the table for meals.

“As long as I can walk, I will be setting the tables!” Whitney said. “My father always said, ‘hard work didn’t kill anybody.’”

Whitney reflected on her younger years growing up with five brothers and sisters where she enjoyed picking strawberries for three cents a basket on her father’s strawberry bed and getting five-cent ice cream cones from Anna Morrison’s ice cream parlor in North Granville.

In her growing years, Whitney graduated from Granville High School in 1940 and became “acquainted” with her soon-to-be husband, Carl.

The Whitneys were married for 13 years and had more than 500 chickens on their farm when Carl died tragically from pneumatic fever.

Whitney would go on to work 27 years for the Washington County Department of Social Services in the welfare department and as a bookkeeper in the accounting department until she retired in 1984.

Whitney’s daughter, Linda Thompson, laughed at how times have changed, as her mother’s annual salary was $2,000, but how beloved her mother is by everyone she meets.

“I think everybody loves her! There is not one person in this world that hasn’t told me ‘your mom is the most wonderful person,’ everyone says that about her. She’s kind, she’s thoughtful and she’s caring,” Thompson said.

Holbrook Adult Home co-owner Debra Pauquette choked up when thinking about the impact Whitney has had on her and others in three short years at the facility.

“She’s just an amazing lady, she’s everybody’s grandma. That woman has so many people that care about her and she’s very family-oriented,” Pauquette said.

Whitney’s message to the community on how to leave a positive impact within a century was simple.

“Just be kind to everybody. There’s nothing in the world to be upset about,” she said.

At the end of the day, Whitney just looks at her personal milestone as an ordinary feat, and of course, with a sense of humor.

“I just lived 100 years, I guess God didn’t want me!” Whitney said with a laugh.