Bainbridge woman reaches 103

Published 4:38 pm Friday, August 28, 2015

Merita Rowan smiles at her 103rd birthday party Thursday at Memorial Manor.

Merita Rowan smiles at her 103rd birthday party Thursday at Memorial Manor.

Still stylish at 103 years of age, Ms. Merita Rowan celebrated her birthday dressed in a beige suit and blouse, complete with makeup,  jewelry and an upsweep hairdo on Thursday, August 27 at Memorial Manor where she now resides.

Ms. Merita greeted visitors from her home church, First Baptist of Bainbridge, as well as employees of the Manor.

Born in Seminole County, she recalled first coming to First Baptist as a bride, where she was asked to sing soprano in the choir. She remained a faithful member of the choir for many years.

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She still loves to sing when they have services at the Manor.

For many years she ran a stylish dress shop on the square. She met her husband Reginald Rowan when he came from Chattahoochee to run Kwilecki Hardware.

Following their marriage they built a home at 627 E. Shotwell Street, and she can still describe the floor plan and where each room was located.

Her memory is good in other ways, as she can recite phone numbers, complete with area codes, for sisters-in-law and other friends.

She is quick to point out that she isn’t bragging, but is merely thankful that she still has her mind.

As the oldest and only survivor of eight children, she said she learned to share at age two, when her mother told her to be good and kind to her twin brothers. She recalls her mother saying, “If you are a selfish little girl you will grow up to be a selfish woman, and you don’t want that.” She describes her mother, Emma Davis, who lived to be 98, as a most kind, good, Christian woman. Her father was Dr. E.S. Davis, who practiced medicine in Decatur and Seminole Counties.

Following the unexpected death of her husband, who died of a heart attack, she carried on the best she could with the dress shop, then went to live at Willow Ridge for awhile before moving to the Manor.

Asked what she thinks has enabled her to live so long, she replies, “I think a lot of it is what you inherit. It helps to have a good character. I like to be with people who are decent and kind.”