Ruby Denny celebrates 100th birthday

By Alan Bulluck

February 27, 2014

Ruby Greer Denny, who just celebrated her 100th birthday, lived through two world wars, experienced the Great Depression, the first lunar landing, the September 11th attacks, and the election of the nation’s first African American president.

On Monday, Feb. 24, the High Country Council of Government’s Division of Aging honored the Todd resident with an official proclamation in honor of her 100th birthday.

The event to honor the centenarian Denny was originally scheduled to take place in January but was postponed due to inclement weather. Denny was born in Lansing on Jan. 18, 1914.

Among those in attendance to mark the occasion were: Senior Tarheel Delegate to the N.C. Senior Tarheel Legislature and Jefferson Alderman Charles Caudill, chairman of the board of directors for Ashe Services for Aging Richard Blackburn, Ashe County Manager Sam Yearick and Ashe County Commissioner Gerald Price.

Denny was one of eight children born to James and Nevia Greer. Much of her childhood was spent helping her parents and siblings sustain their small mountain farm.

“We had a little farm; a family farm,” Denny said. “We grew beans to sell, and tobacco, and milked cows.”

In 1931 she married Dolphus Denny. The couple had eight children - Doyle, Charlie, Jim, Clara, Larry, Doris, Gary and Bruce.

After the Great Depression, Denny followed her sons to Pennsylvania where she worked in a mushroom cannery.

“At that time, it was hard getting a job in Ashe County,” Denny said.

Two years later, Denny returned to Ashe County. She decided that she either wanted to work with seniors or with children.

She chose the former and took a job at Grandview Nursing Home, however, she didn’t abandon her desire to work with children altogether. For a decade, Denny volunteered as a Foster Grandmother at Lansing School, before retiring at the age of 80.

“I had some fond memories of working down there,” Denny said.

Denny has always had a soft spot for children. According to caretaker Joy Walton, Denny used to have a habit of replying to mail-order sweepstakes offers - much to the chagrin of her husband.

What did she plan to do with her winnings?

“I was gonna build a place for children that didn’t have a home,” Denny said.

These days, Denny resides at the Hill View Family Center where she spends her days entertaining and warming the hearts of her caretakers.

“(Denny) blessed me in a lot of ways,” Walton said. “She’s just remakable.”

Denny continues to enjoy reading, quilting and remaining active in the community and her church. Denny said she’s made a quilt for every one of her grandchildren, including one for her grandson’s college roommate, which was a graduation present.

Though legally blind, Denny recently taught a friend how to quilt.

Alan Bulluck can be reached at 336-846-7164 or on Twitter @albulluck