Oberlin Woman Celebrates 100th Birthday

June 30, 2007
Reported By: Lee Peck

Celebrating the birthday of their oldest citizen, the city of Oberlin turned out in a big way. At 100 years old Vena Duplechain has seen a lot change since 1907.

"At that time, there was no electricity, no running water, no highways... It was just dirt roads," recalls Duplechain.

The oldest of eight children, Vena married her high school sweetheart Albert in 1931. Settling in Oberlin, the couple was married 71 years and have six children. Although she never thought she would see 100, she says she's never been one to dwell on numbers.

"I didn't think I'd see 100 years, but my age and my weight never did bother me," said Duplechain.

Despite the challenges of old age, Miss Vena admits life has been good. "I don't see my best and I don't hear my best. I have to watch where I put my step... I'm always watching that," says Duplechain. "But I've been blessed and I owe all that to the Lord. He's my best friend."

But don't let her fool you, this old timer is still very active. "She cooks, she washes. She likes to hang her clothes on the line. We put her a little clothes line on her porch, she likes to hang them up. She still does her dishes. She goes to church every Sunday and she also goes to the beauty shop on Fridays," said youngest daughter Wanda McDaniel.

Miss Vena also likes to garden and has tried her green thumb at just about everything. "Oh, I've planted pecan trees, oak trees, all kinds of fruit trees... I've tried everything," said Duplechain. "And I told my family -- I didn't leave y'all a lot of money, but I'm going to leave y'all a lot of pecans... And I did."

Over the years her family has grown to include 16 grand children, 33 great grandchildren, and nine great grand children. She says they are life's greatest gift.

"There's no price, you can't measure your price and your love you have for your kids. All my kids are precious to me. I love them one and all," says Duplechain.

Her actual birthday is on June 26th, but the family decided to celebrate it Saturday so everyone could attend, including Oberlin's mayor who presented Miss Vena with a key to the city and declared the day 'Vena Duplechain Day.'