Centenarian Offers Advice for Fathers, Finances and Longevity

Turn 100 years old and inevitably you get asked, “What’s your secret?”

For Medina resident George Lovelady, who turned 100 on March 25, there’s not much of a secret to tell.

“I married a wonderful wife,” he says.

Her name is Marjorie.

Skeptical? Don’t be. George happens to have science on his side.

According to an article published by Harvard Health, married people tend to live longer, have fewer strokes and heart attacks, have a lower chance of becoming depressed, are less likely to have advanced cancer at the time of diagnosis (and more likely to survive for a longer period of time), and even survive a major operation more often.
Jason French, the administrator at Western Reserve Masonic Community, where George and Marjorie moved to in 2014, says the science is true, but he also credits George’s longevity to a combination of good genes, a zest for life, a daily purpose and having friendships.

“It’s not unusual for people who live alone—and age in place—to decline simply because they’re isolated, depressed and don’t have the resources or opportunities to participate in life or have fun with friends or family,” he says. “George is always learning; he’s curious, and he has a group of friends he spends time with each day. Not to mention, how many centenarians are texting on a cell phone and asking, ‘OK, Google’ for weather updates so they can plan their days?”

George played tennis until he was 92, and today, he may be the oldest in his friend group, but he’s more tech-savvy than most who are 20 years his junior. His Google Home plays his favorite Big Band music whenever he asks, he emails and texts people on his Android 5, and he is familiar with Instagram and Facebook.

Days start early for George. Rising at 6:30 a.m., George makes himself a healthy breakfast and watches the news. He does the dishes and checks the activities planned for the day before heading out. Lunch with friends in the dining room, activities, perhaps a nap and some afternoon reading before dinner, George eventually returns home where he watches the news, catches up on reading and heads to bed.

George and Marjorie’s marriage lasted 72 years, and together they raised five children: David, Lane, Dane, Jeff and Eric. Marjorie passed away in 2018.

The Lovelady children recall memories from a bygone era when dinner was at 5:35 p.m. sharp, and everyone had better be there. There was fishing, camping, ice skating and school sports. Dad was the breadwinner, and mom stayed home.

Times may have changed, but looking back, George offers some sage advice.

For fathers: “Give as much attention to your children as you possibly can. Play with them. My father once told me that when I went away to college, half of a college education is learning to live with people.”

For life in general: “Stay active, and eat well. Control the use of a credit card. Pay it off the next month if you use it.”

Most importantly, be sure to marry a wonderful woman.

A Bit of Birthday Cheer

George’s five children planned a birthday celebration that quickly turned into a family reunion. More than 60 family members traveled from Colorado, Florida, Illinois, Michigan, Indiana and New Jersey to Medina to celebrate his birthday with friends and staff at Western Reserve Masonic Community. A slide show of photos highlighted George’s life, and a nearby table showcased family photos and military memorabilia.

A Love Story from the Greatest Generation

George and Marjorie Lovelady’s love story began like so many others’ of the Greatest Generation. They met at a dance at Cambridge City Park in Ohio just before the war broke out; they quickly became sweethearts. George joined the Army Air Corps in 1942, and although he had intended to propose to Marjorie before he shipped off for England, he never got the chance.

Unable to meet up with Marjorie and his mother as planned before he had to board the ship, George asked his mother for a favor: take Marjorie and pick out an engagement ring together. And so she did, and Marjorie and George became engaged without George ever asking for her hand in marriage.

For the next three years, George served at Thurleigh Air Base in Bedfordshire, England. While there, Marjorie worked at the FBI in Washington, D.C. When George returned home in 1945, Marjorie quit her job and moved back home to Cambridge to marry her beau on a fall November day. George said it was tough finding a job stateside, but with a good recommendation, he found work at Standard Oil Company in Ohio, where he stayed until he retired in 1979.