By Melody Vallieu
TROY — After a busy life raising five children and being a pastor’s wife, Alice Lucas now enjoys the serenity that comes with her laid-back lifestyle.
It sure must be working for the Troy resident — as she will turn 100 on Sunday, May 20, 2018.
Born in 1918 in Bramwell, West Virginia, to William “Toby” and Clydie Niswander, Alice is one of 15 children — and the oldest surviving. Her father was a coal miner, and Alice remembers the family being poor, but having what they needed.
Born at the tail end of the Great Depression in 1918, Alice said the family survived by owning a few farm animals and picking blackberries to sell, “so we made it.”
Alice later married the Rev. Charles Lucas, her husband of 51 years prior to his passing.
Lessons in frugality from her youth helped her manage her family life, she said, raising their children, including Donna Harris of Troy, Charles Lucas of Grand Rapids, Michigan, Linda Boggs of Troy, Betty Tasker of Troy, and Carolyn Shelton, who passed away in 2000.
When the children were raised and had moved out, Alice said she simply enjoyed the quiet time she experienced.
“Dear me, I rested I suppose,” she said of the time after her children had left the home.
Charles, a minister, pastored five churches in his career, landing in Troy at the Troy Gospel Tabernacle in 1960, from which he retired after 15 years of service. Alice, who remains a member of the church, served as the piano player for many years.
“She didn’t play by notes, she played by ear,” said daughter Donna Harris, who has been Lucas’ full-time caregiver for 16 years. “She could play for anybody. Everyone loved her piano playing.”
Alice — who remains in relatively good health — also stuffed newspapers with inserts for the Troy Daily News for 23 years.
“I love Troy, and made a lot of friends,” said Alice, who has 10 grandchildren, with one deceased; two step-grandchildren; 18 great-grandchildren; and nine great-great-grandchildren.
Today, Alice enjoys taking long car rides, especially to the Mel-O-Dee Restaurant in New Carlisle, where she enjoys their broasted chicken and coleslaw.
“We don’t even care if we get lost,” Harris said of their trips.
Alice, who has received more than a dozen birthday cards in the weeks prior, will celebrate her birthday with a family dinner.
Reach Melody Vallieu at firstname.lastname@example.org or (937) 552-2131