Blount’s newest centenarian: Webb to be honored at party Saturday
By Melanie Tucker | (email@example.com)
Hundreds of Blount County students were under the tutelage of Helen Webb, a native of this community who taught elementary school for 40 years.
Several others know her because of her loyalty and work with the Blount County Republican Party.
Few of them may realize, however, that this graduate of Maryville High School and the University of Tennessee turns 100 on Saturday. It’s a huge milestone and one that will celebrated at a birthday party from 2 to 4 p.m. Saturday at Asbury Acres Retirement Center, where she has resided for the past 25 years.
Out in the community
She does run into people all the time that she’s met over the years. Inevitably age comes up.
“They usually tell me how good I look and then ask me how old I am,” Webb said. “I tell them to guess. They always guess between 85 and 90. Then when I tell them they say, ‘Oh my goodness, that can’t be.’”
She was born on Nov. 10, 1912, to H.C. and Georgia McCulley and married Frank T. Webb in 1936. The couple has two children, Lynn T. and Penny Webb and Ellen A. and Sam Johnson. She has four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Webb is one of seven children born to H.C. “Jack” and Georgia McCulley. Her siblings include the late Robert McCulley, H.C. McCulley Jr., the late Edd McCulley, Edna “Shorty” Lindsey, the late John McCulley and Peggy Payne.
This soon-to-be centenarian told family she didn’t want a big deal made of this important day, but granddaughter Beverly Dupes and other family members couldn’t treat it like any other day. They plan to show Webb just how much she has meant to them over the years. Friends are also welcome to stop by on Saturday and extend well-wishes.
Webb admits her memory has faded over the years. Her teaching career started at the now closed Alnwick Elementary and then it was on to the now closed Chilhowee View, before settling for many years at Fairview Elementary. She graduated from MHS in 1931 and then earned a two-year degree in education from Maryville College. Webb then went on to UT where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in 1959.
Home sweet home
She never ventured too far from home. In fact, she’s never lived anywhere else and feels like she hasn’t missed out. “This is where I was born,” she said when asked what she likes about Blount County.
Her affiliation with the Blount County Republican Party dates back probably further than her teaching career. It’s one of the things Webb is most proud of. And despite being days shy of her 100th birthday, Webb did cast her ballot in the 2012 presidential election.
She can’t remember not voting in all the years she’s been eligible.
If there is a secret or some special advice on just how to become a member of the centenarian club, Webb didn’t provide any. She kept her mind busy as a teacher for 40 years and that has to be a good thing where longevity is concerned. She still keeps busy and even exercises two to three times a week. She said her health has been good over the years.
Webb does get out on occasion and used to attend First Cumberland Presbyterian Church, but she attends services now at Asbury. She said she would like to welcome old and new friends to stop by any afternoon for a visit.
Her hobbies include playing the card game Rook and following football and basketball at UT. In addition to her work with the Blount County Republican Party, she is also a member of the Retired Teachers Association and the UT Alumni Chapter of Maryville.
She also served as a Pink Lady volunteer at Blount Memorial Hospital, from 1973 to 2001. She had 8,800 volunteer service hours.
The years have sped by. Even Webb herself finds it amazing she has lived far longer than most. She is grateful for the journey and for the friends she’s met along the way.