By Bev Odom/The Red River Sun—
WELLINGTON – Born Aug. 17, 1919 at home 10 miles from Tatum, N.M., Lee Hood grew up part of a family that enjoyed life – many years of life.
Hood’s family and a few friends gathered Aug. 16 to celebrate her 101st birthday. During the Sunday afternoon drive-by, friends waved and honked. Some dropped off greeting cards, homemade pie and ripe watermelons for the celebration.
The next to oldest of seven siblings and the only one still alive, Hood said staying healthy and attending church are her secrets to living a long life. She said she is still her for a reason.
“God’s not through with me yet is what somebody told me years ago,” she laughed.
Both of Hood’s grandfathers lived to be 92 years old, according to her daughter Sondra Daniel, who she lives with in Wellington.
And the work ethic that Hood grew up with is second to none.
“I got up early every morning,” she said. “We’d go out to the cow lots and milk two cows each and slop the pigs. I loved to play basketball and baseball and run track any chance I got.”
Her strict father didn’t want his seven kids messing around.
“I couldn’t be in the school play,” she added. “Being the oldest girl, I had to set an example and keep my legs covered.”
Hood described how she rolled down her stockings in the heat of the day, and one of her siblings would always tattle tale to their father.
“I had a pretty rugged life,” said Hood. “We had to gather the eggs, look out for rattlesnakes and watch for the cow’s tail when milking so they didn’t swish our face.”
In addition to her siblings, two of Hood’s three children have already died.
“It’s sad when a parent outlives a child and I’ve outlived two,” she said.
Her daughter Loretta Orr died at the age of 69, and her only son, Bruce Hood, at 72 years old.
“Sondra and her husband Lyman are good enough to let me live with them,” Hood added.
She has 47 direct descendants with her daughter, grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren.
Hood embraces what the future holds for her every day. A 1937 graduate of Tatum High School, a champion typist and good at shorthand and spelling, she earned her degree at Draughon’s Business College in Lubbock.
She said her dad, Emmet Green, planned her life. He pulled her out of home economics classes she loved in high school and had her placed in typing and shorthand. He worked for the Federal Land Bureau and felt his daughter would also have success in business.
She did meet her future husband at college. The couple owned a real estate business and raised their family at Bangs near Lake Brownwood. She helped him in many ways but mostly with spelling.
“He would always ask me how to spell certain words,” she said.
A passionate sports fan from an early age, Hood still loves attending sporting events such as her great granddaughters’ volleyball games in Childress and Skyrocket football games.
An active member of Wellington Professional Women’s Club until recently, she earned the 2018 Woman of the Year distinction at the age of 99.
Hood serves as an active member of First Baptist Church in Wellington but has not attended on a regular basis during the COVID-19 pandemic.
She said she fulfills her purpose making the best of each day God gives her.