Hale-native celebrates 109th birthday

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, October 12, 2005

It is rare to find someone who lives beyond a century, but Hager Young, a native of Demopolis, turned 109 years old yesterday. Surrounded by friends and family at her home on East Lyon Street, Young sat quietly, occasionally sharing her wit and charm with the group.

Born in Hale County, Young moved with her parents, Richard and Adlaid Robinson, to Demopolis when she was only three years old. She didn’t receive much schooling, but Young wants future generations to take advantage of present-day educational opportunities.

Sitting nearby, one of Young’s seven children, Edna Ruth Young James, said her mother would advise children: “Be obedient to your parents and go to school and learn something.”

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Young was known by her children’s’ friends as Miss Hager, and they knew she could make the best cakes and pies. James said she commonly made chocolate, coconut and jelly cakes. Jelly cake was her husband, Levy Young Sr.’s, favorite, James said.

Levy Sr. supported the family as a butcher, while Young was a housewife, raising James and her six other children, Levy Young Jr., Richard Young, James Young, Preston Young, Alberta Young and Hager Theresa Young Washington.

“She was always kind and loving to everybody,” James said. “She stayed home and took care of us kids.”

On her 109th year, Young was happy to be surrounded by a myriad of cousins, children and friends. As one of those many cousins came in to greet Young and introduce her husband, Young simply said, “Treat her right.”

Young obviously practiced what she preached. She had many friends who have all gone before her, including Mary Cox, Carolyn Williams, Sophia Thomas, Sister Scott and Edna Lucas.

When she couldn’t be found at home, the next place to look was her church. For years, Young gave much of her free time to her church, Pettus Memorial AME Zion Church, of which she still a member.

Each year for her birthday, Young’s family has a large gathering where they sit, talk, eat and spend time with one another. This year was no different.