Taylor County woman still going strong at 106

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Woman’s son, Dr. James T. Wooldridge, is a Lebanon resident

By Calen McKinney

She still remembers the first time she rode in a car. And she can recall her first airplane ride. But she doesn't seem to understand why there is such a fuss about her 106th birthday.
On Feb. 16, Frances Moss celebrated 106 years of life. Performers from Kentucky Classic Theater came to The Grandview Nursing and Rehabilitation Facility, where Moss now lives, to perform songs from her lifetime in her honor.
"It was so much more than I thought it was going to be," she said.
Moss was born in 1908 to Thomas and Fannie Newton in Campbellsville. She graduated from Campbellsville High School and then moved to Louisville for business school and spent most of her adult life there.
Moss worked for the state highway department for several years. She said she remembers getting a letter from the governor at the time, who was a Democrat, stating that he had lost the election and a Republican would be coming into office. As a result, her job was no longer available. Moss said her boss encouraged her to go into civil service, so she took a test and became a stenographer. She would then spend more than 20 years working at the Internal Revenue Service.
"I left there in the top job," she said.
Working for the company during World War II, Moss said, most men weren't available for jobs during that time and she was promoted quickly as a result.
After spending most of her adult life in Louisville, she came back home to Campbellsville several years ago.
"I always loved Campbellsville," she said. "This was my home."
Moss was married to the late Bill Moss, and has two children, Mary Frances Hughes of Daytona Beach, Fla., and Dr. James T. Wooldridge of Lebanon. Moss also has five grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren.
Moss celebrated her 100th birthday when she was living at Windsor Gardens. She came to live at The Grandview about five years ago.
Moss said she has lived in pretty good health over the years.
"I am very thankful that I've gotten along as well as I have," she said. "For my age, I think the fact that I am able to get up and get dressed every day is a miracle."
In her younger years, Moss enjoyed playing bridge and golf and being active in church and a woman's club. She grew up listening to classical music and learned to play the piano. Moss had two ponies when she was a child and played basketball in high school.
"Very poorly," she said. "But I was tall, so I made a good center."
Moss said she still remembers the uniforms she and her teammates wore. They were what she refers to as full, black bloomers with purple jerseys and knee socks.
"We were a sight to behold," she said.
Moss started her education at a small school in Campbellsville with about 16 classmates. She said she liked studying French, but not math.
"I liked the boys," she said. "I was not a real good student."
Moss was a Girl Scout as she grew up and said she remembers tagging along some days when her father delivered mail in his horse and buggy.
The first car she remembers riding in belonged to a neighbor, who let all the children living on her street come along. She said she remembers walking where she needed to go, so cars were something new for her. Her neighbor's car made lots of noise when he drove it home.
"You could hear the engine pumping some kind of noise," she said.
The neighborhood children ran to their windows to see what has happening.
"And stood there till he drove by," she said.
The first airplane she saw, Moss said, she remembers watching it fly overhead. But the first time she flew in an airplane she wasn't so excited.
"I was scared to death to get on it," she said. "I was frightened. I just didn't think the plane would hold up."
Since then, she has taken many flights to visit family in Florida.
Though Moss has seen many technological advances over the years, she has never used a computer. They were invented right around the time she decided to retire from her job at the IRS.
"So it was time to quit," she said.
Moss said she can't pinpoint what has helped her reach her 106th birthday.
"I really don't know," she said. "I talk about it with God frequently. It's in his hands and it's his choice.
"God's been very good to me. He's done so much that I don't deserve."
Moss said she has a strong family who supports her and sees that she receives the care she needs.
"I am so thankful for my family," she said. "My children and grandchildren are very special. And they have shown me what you can do with your life if you try [even] halfway."
Moss said she believes there really isn't a secret to a long life.
"I think you just turn it over to the Lord and you know you are his child and he will do with you what he wants," she said.
Editor’s note: Calen McKinney is a reporter for the Central Kentucky News-Journal in Campbellsville.