COLUMBIA, S.C. — In the biography prepared by her family for her 105th birthday celebration, Girdine Legree's philosophy of life states "trust God, do the best you can, and don't worry about things you have no control over."
Wise words for someone who has passed the century mark in life.
Ms. Legree was born on September 15, 1915, in Cameron, SC, the only child of Hebron and Lucy Shirer.
She attended Mount Carmel -- a one-room schoolhouse in Cameron that taught from first up to the eighth grade -- and joined St Peter AME Church. Ms. Legree described to her family walking to church every Sunday morning with her mother. There long walk -- there was no family car -- took the two women down "The Lane" lined with pecan, plum and persimmon trees.
Ms Legree has outlived two husbands: married first to Russell Simmons, with whom she had two daughters, Gertie Mae (Jackson) and Janie (Dix); and then to Julius Legree, with whom she had Edward, Julius and Margaret and was mother to step-daughter Harriette Legree.
During her lifetime, Ms Legree traveled and worked as a domestic within family homes in New York City before returning home to care for her ailing mother in Cameron, SC.
After returning home, she picked cotton and peaches and worked various other jobs in the Cameron Community before retiring from the Gressette Center. Active in her church, Ms Legree volunteered to be in charge of St Peter's communion cloth for First Sundays, served on many auxiliary committees and was the treasurer of the Gospel Choir.
Today, Ms Legree lives with her daughter Margaret in Denmark, SC, and her family has grown from her two daughters to 25 grandchildren, 38 great-grandchildren, 21 great-great grandchildren and countless other relatives.
On her 104th birthday, it was noted that Ms Legree "is enjoying a blessed life by letting others be a blessing to her as she has blessed others in so many ways and walks of life."
Happy 105th birthday, Ms Girdine Legree!