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By LARRY CHAMBERS, Staff
Dona Cox of Independence reached a milestone that many people never reach in their lifetime – she celebrated her 100th birthday on June 12 with a party attended by her many friends and family at the Log House Restaurant in Wytheville.
During her lifetime, she has observed history in the making.
When she was born in Macon, Ga., William Howard Taft was president of the United States.
During a recent interview, Cox talked about her long life and her many accomplishments.
A teacher by profession, Cox taught in schools in Porterdale, Ga., Fort Chiswell and Independence High School. She retired from teaching at Independence at the age of 65 as a language arts teacher.
Besides teaching, she also worked in Girl Scouts in Wilmington and High Point, N.C., and Winchester, Mass.
She has been married twice. Her first husband, Harvey Glazier, was a pastor/priest in Massachusetts, Wilmington, N.C., Wadesboro, N.C., Charlotte, N.C., and Wytheville.
After her husband’s death, Cox worked as the director of the Appleton Church Home for Teenage Girls.
Her second marriage was to Gayle Cox and they moved to Independence.
Cox has three children, Cynthia Sechrest of Boston, Mass., Harvey Glazier of New York City and Noelle Cassell of Crockett.
She said Cassell comes to Independence twice a week to check on her.
She is a proud grandmother of five grandchildren – Marisa Lawrence of New York City, Matthew Sechrest of Los Angeles, Calif., Weston Sechrest of Austin, Texas, Scott Cassell of Panama City, Fla., and Evan Cassell of King College in Bristol.
Cox’s husband Gayle was active in the Sons of the American Revolution and she is an honorary member of the Daughters of the American Revolution.
Cox remains active and goes to the Alleghany Wellness Center in Sparta, N.C., regularly, where she exercises and swims.
“My good friend Virginia Hawkins drives me to Sparta,” Cox said. “I gave up driving last year.”
She also visits friends at the nursing home and attends Church at the Good Shepherd Episcopal in Baywood.
“I’m just thankful for every day when I can wake up in my own bed,” she said with a smile. “When you reach my age, every day is special.”
She also spends a lot of time working in her flowers at her home on U.S. 58 in Independence across from the health department.
Cox said she received a lot of nice gifts at her party. One special gift came from Margaret Cox who gave her a basket filled with 100 chocolate Kisses representing 100 hugs.
Two friends who helped celebrate her birthday was Muriel Moxley, who is 99, and George Reid from New York City, who was born on the same date as Cox.
When asked her secret to a long life, Cox smiled and said, “breathing the fresh mountain air of Grayson County.”