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Strunk celebrates 105 years

Goldie Strunk always took Doc Perry’s advice

By Eugenia Jones

Goldie Strunk, an alert McCreary Countian, celebrated her 105th birthday last week at the McCreary County Health and Rehabilitation Center in Pine Knot.  Born on August 18, 1917, Goldie contributes her longevity to faith in God, noting that she has “always loved the Lord.”

According to Goldie’s granddaughter, Goldie Byrd, there are a few additional factors that may have also contributed to her grandmother’s long, healthy, and active life.

“Grandma’s sole sources of information about what was going on in the world came from listening to Whitley City WHAY radio and reading the local newspaper,” Goldie’s granddaughter said.

Despite having only a third grade education, Goldie loves to read.  She especially loves to read the Bible, and her goal is to read the Bible from start to finish before she passes.

 Goldie always knew how to take a dime and turn it into a dollar.  She never held a public job, but that didn’t keep Goldie from taking care of her family members.  While her husband, Odie Strunk, worked as a carpenter, Goldie took care of the family and made sure they were loved.  Long after her husband passed, Goldie remained self-sufficient and provided for herself.  

“I think she must have learned that from going through the Great Depression,” Granddaughter Goldie remarked.  “She always washed out her aluminum foil so she could reuse it.  At 87 years old, she was still doing her laundry using a wringer washer, hanging it out to dry on the clothes line, and ironing everything!  She was also carrying her own coal and firewood inside for heat.”   

Goldie never learned to drive a car, but that didn’t prevent her from going where she needed to go.

“Grandma was still walking to church and the post office when she was 87 years old,” Goldie’s granddaughter exclaimed.

Goldie’s granddaughter laughs lovingly about her grandmother’s quick wit.

“In addition to her faith and loving the Lord, I would say these are the other things that have kept her being “Johnny on the spot” at 105 years old,” Goldie’s granddaughter said.  “Grandma only had a third grade education (but still loves to read), never drove a car, never worked a public job, and always did what “Doc Perry” told her to do!”

When Goldie was 87 years old, she suddenly decided to move from her house to an apartment.  It was then that she got her first TV.

“She always liked “Everybody loves Raymond”, and she always watched Jerry Springer at 10:00 a.m.,” Goldie’s granddaughter grinned.  “She would cackle and laugh at those people on Jerry Springer!”

Goldie remained self-sufficient while living alone in her apartment until the age of 96.  At 96 years old, she fell while baking a pone of cornbread.

“She fractured some bones that didn’t heal, so she went to live at McCreary Health Care,” Goldie’s granddaughter explained.

Goldie’s parents were Neals who lived in Stearns.  She has been a life-long resident of McCreary County.  Goldie and her husband had two children (David Strunk and Martha Jane Taylor) and four grandchildren.  Goldie is a member of Stearns First Baptist Church.  She has two very special friends who visit her often:  Pamela Douglas and Joyce Lewis.

Photos by Eugenia Jones

Goldie Strunk celebrated her 105th birthday on August 18, 2022.

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