Edgefield woman, 112, oldest African-American

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EDGEFIELD, S.C. --- Humorists have long joked that Edgefield has some secret ingredient in its water, having produced so many centenarians.

Mamie Rearden, born in 1898, says the secret to living a long life is to treat others the way you want to be treated.   Anne Waits/ Edgefield Citizen News
Anne Waits/ Edgefield Citizen News
Mamie Rearden, born in 1898, says the secret to living a long life is to treat others the way you want to be treated.

Now, the county has a record-setting supercentenarian.

Last week, after the death of a 113-year-old Louisiana woman named Mississippi Winn, Edgefield native Mamie Rearden became the oldest black person in the country. She is 112.

Dr. J. Stephen Coles, of the Gerontology Research Group in Los Angeles, confirmed Rearden's new title. Of 83 known supercentenarians (those who live past 110) in the world, Rearden ranks eighth in the United States and 19th worldwide.

Asked about it, Rearden was speechless. Finally, looking almost embarrassed, she replied, "I don't know how it makes me feel. I really don't know."

Friends and family say Rearden has always lived life to the fullest, without thinking much about age.

She was born Sept. 7, 1898, as Mamie Julia Lewis and grew up in the Pleasant Lane section of Edgefield County. She has never lived more than a few miles from where she was born. She attended Log Creek Community School and Bettis Academy Junior College.

Rearden talks about how her father loaded the wagon to get ready to take her to college and how it would take all day to get there on the other side of the county.

She received her teaching certificate and began teaching in 1918. In 1919, she married Ocay Rearden, and the couple had 11 children. They were married for 59 years, until his death in 1979.

"I always called him 'Shug,' " Rearden remembered with a laugh.

At 65, she obtained her first driver's license, and at 70, she began a career as caseworker for the Office of Economic Opportunity.

Always active in church work, she has served in various capacities over the years. In 2008, her church, Springfield Baptist, honored her with a Mamie Rearden Appreciation Program.

Today, her daughter Martha and her son David live with her in a rambling brick house on the north side of the county. She loves to read. Her daughter said she is in good health, though she walks with the assistance of a walker and is hard of hearing. A lifelong lover of hats, she still likes to look stylish. She eats well and still has a sense of humor.

Friends and relatives consistently refer to her as "generous," "humble," "God-fearing," and a "woman of great spiritual grace."

Her secret to longevity: Always treat others as you want to be treated. Tend to your own business and live a good, clean life and the Lord will bless you.

And maybe, drink a lot of Edgefield water.

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bettyboop
8
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bettyboop 01/19/11 - 10:42 am
1
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Great story!!!...just goes to

Great story!!!...just goes to show what a strong family figure and good clean living can produce 112 years later....makes you go hmmmmmmmm

Richmnd Cty Votr
1
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Richmnd Cty Votr 01/19/11 - 11:10 am
1
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WOW, Mrs. Reardon looks great

WOW, Mrs. Reardon looks great for her AGE! Gotta get me some of that Edgefield water.

Chillen
17
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Chillen 01/19/11 - 11:31 am
1
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If this is a current photo

If this is a current photo she looks fantastic! She's done something right to live this long that's for sure.

Boy has the world changed since she was born in 1898. She was 31 when the stock market crashed in 1929!

I find it interesting that she lives with her daughter and her son rather than being tucked away in a nursing home. Family taking care of family. Seems to be working well for all of them. The kids must be in their late 80's!

Here's to many more good years Ms. Rearden. I hope you live to be a healthy, happy 120+!

justthefacts
25486
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justthefacts 01/19/11 - 11:40 am
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Hard to even imagine all the

Hard to even imagine all the change she has witnessed in her life.

Bigsarge07
1
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Bigsarge07 01/19/11 - 02:07 pm
1
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Wow, I hope I look that good

Wow, I hope I look that good at 112. Nice to hear something positive coming out of the Edgefield area.

sueboo418
37
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sueboo418 01/19/11 - 02:11 pm
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What an awesome experience it

What an awesome experience it would be to sit and talk with this beautiful woman! She has seen so so much in her life it would be incredible. Great story!

xpresso1
68
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xpresso1 01/19/11 - 04:24 pm
1
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That is amazing..what a

That is amazing..what a wonderful heartwarming story. It is great to read something good instead of all the bad new going on in the world today.

TakeAHike
191
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TakeAHike 01/19/11 - 04:30 pm
1
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Congratulations! I would love

Congratulations! I would love to see her write a book. She holds an incredible wealth of information of the past century. Please AC do a followup story--perhaps on her most memorable events in each decade.

TrulyWorried
16709
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TrulyWorried 01/19/11 - 04:54 pm
1
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Happy Birthday Ms Mamie

Happy Birthday Ms Mamie Rearden!!!- I know you have seen a lot of things in your lifetime and to be able to be in good health and spirit at your age is truly a gift from the Lord above.
Gove bless you - dear lady - keep drinking that Edgefield water!!

old49er
1
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old49er 01/19/11 - 05:07 pm
1
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Wonderful story...many more

Wonderful story...many more happy days for Ms Rearden!

WW1949
19
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WW1949 01/19/11 - 08:29 pm
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Godspeed to Mrs Rearden. Good

Godspeed to Mrs Rearden. Good for her that she has lived a good clean life. All of us could do that.

mccainworld
1
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mccainworld 04/06/11 - 12:01 am
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This is truly an awesome

This is truly an awesome story & journey of a beautiful & graceful lady to mark your life by. This shows through her love for God & her inspiration through her life, she was blessed with longetivity to watch over a century of life filled with love & joy as she lived, gived, & loved her family & friends... WOW is all I can say. Thank you so much for Mrs. Rearden for being an extraordinary being of God...

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