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Putnam Celebrates Oldest Living Native: Jane Vailes Turns 107

/ The Upper Cumberland's News Leader
Putnam Celebrates Oldest Living Native: Jane Vailes Turns 107

A celebration was held for Putnam County’s oldest living native Friday afternoon.

Jane Vailes turned 107 this week, and she said her life motto is “you rest, you rust.”

“I stay busy and that means a whole lot to me,” Vailes said. “Because as long as I stay busy the longer I’m contended to stay on this earth.”

Vailes graduated from Algood High School in 1940. She said living through 10 decades, she doesn’t have a favorite but that she can remember World War II, and the Rose Bowl Parade when Jimmy Stewart and his wife were the grand marshals. Vailes said the most important lesson she learned in her life was the Golden Rule–“Do Unto Others As You Would Have Done To You.”

During WWII Vailes worked at Consolidated Vultee. Vailes said that was back in the years when women started wearing pants. She said she could’ve worked in an office, but she liked to make things that were useful. She worked on the wing spires for V-24 airplanes.

Lewis Matheney is a local business owner and Vailes’ cousin. He said it’s important to celebrate all of life’s moments.

“I feel like in life we just run and run and run and later we regret that we didn’t take a pause and say ‘I love you,’ and even if you’re mad just take a pause in the moment and let it go. So 107? Yeah we have to celebrate,” Matheney said. “She doesn’t get back to Cookeville as often as she used to. She’s one of Cookeville’s and Putnam’s and Tennessee’s most avid historians. So she really is a part of history and loves to tell history.”

Matheney said he currently is restoring Vailes’ one-room log cabin where she grew up. He said history is important, especially his family’s.

County Mayor Randy Porter presented Vailes with a proclamation in her honor.


The post Putnam Celebrates Oldest Living Native: Jane Vailes Turns 107 appeared first on News Talk 94.1/AM 1600.