Seymour woman turns 100

When you turn 100, you’re entitled to have biscuits and gravy, coffee and strawberry cheesecake for breakfast.

On Monday morning, Norma Hubbard was joined by longtime friends Pam Huddleston and Donna Sullivan at Sunshine Cafe in Seymour to start off her 100th birthday.

As the restaurant’s waitresses brought out her birthday dessert, they sang “Happy Birthday” and ended with a round of applause.

Hubbard then attempted to blow out a candle without success.

“I’m windier than that, I know,” she said, smiling.

She then tried waving her hand over it before another attempt to blow it out, and that was a success.

Her 100th birthday celebration actually started Thursday with a meal with a couple of her neighbors and continued the next day with family. She then celebrated with a meal at The Pines on Saturday, a dinner and a party Sunday at Fraternal Order of Eagles Aerie 655 and other celebrations Monday at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 1925 and Tuesday at American Legion Post 89.

“Oh yeah, I’m happy,” she said of all of the celebrations.

When asked her thoughts on turning 100, she said, “I just hope everybody can do as good as I did and enjoy it and hope they make it. Turning 100, it’s just something different. I wanted to be different.”

Huddleston said Hubbard always told her she wanted to make it to 100.

“It has been a good life,” Hubbard said. “I’ve enjoyed it, I’m thankful for it and I’ve got a good family. I’ve got great-great-nieces, and they’ve got little ones and they are a joy. I’ve got a lot of good friends. It has just been a good 100 years.”

While there have been ups and downs, a lot of happiness and a lot of disappointments throughout her life, Hubbard said she has lived a regular life.

“When you live on a farm, my dad used to come to the door and say, ‘Up.’ That didn’t mean you laid there 10 more minutes. That meant you got up,” she said. “We all sat down at the table and ate. It was just a good life and not a fancy life.”

The daughter of Bee and Hazel Spurgeon, Norma grew up in the Honeytown neighborhood in Jackson County.

“I’m an old river rat,” she said, smiling, about the community near the East Fork White River.

She went to grade school there until eighth grade and then chose to go to Brownstown High School and graduated in 1941.

“My dad lived in Brownstown Township, and Hamilton Township was on (the other) side of the road, so I could go to either one,” she said of choosing between Brownstown and Cortland high schools. “When I graduated out of eighth grade … there were only two girls in this class. All of the rest of them were boys. We loved them all.”

Out of high school, Norma went to work in the office at Morgan Packing Co. in Austin. That’s where she met the man who would become her husband, Marvin Hubbard.

They got married in 1942, and that same year, Marvin joined the U.S. Army. After three years of service, he returned home and worked at Cosco in Columbus, where he remained for 33 years.

Norma’s next job was at Production Credit, and then she worked for the Seymour office of Louisville, Kentucky-based Federal Land Bank. It was called Muscatatuck National Farm Loan.

“We made loans to farmers so the could buy their farm,” she said. “Production Credit, I did the grain and livestock and stuff like that. Then when I went to Farm Loan, it was for the farmland.”

When that office moved to Bedford, Norma went to work for Seymour National Bank, where she remained for 26 years until retiring. She worked at the drive-thru window and was head teller.

In retirement, Norma helped take care of her parents.

“My dad lived to be 100 and six months,” she said.

She also loves to play bingo and does that three nights a week.

Norma also continues to play the piano, which she learned as a teenager.

“I played at Honeytown Christian Church when I was probably 15,” she said. “I just sat down and played. I just do it. My mom, she sang in a quartet. I don’t know whether my dad could sing or not. I don’t remember. I think he just shook his finger and said, ‘You’re going to practice.’”

Over the years, Norma said she has played the piano at nearly every Christian church in Jackson County and for more than 400 funerals in the county, as she used to regularly play for Winklepleck-Weesner Funeral Home in Brownstown. She also has played the piano for weddings, anniversary celebrations and the Jackson County Hymn Sing.

“I’ve just played all my life, and I do play a lot by ear. I always say, ‘You sing it, and I’ll play it,’” she said, smiling.

The most recent time she played was Sunday on the electric organ her parents bought in 1985 for her birthday.

“I’ve still got it, doesn’t have a scratch on it,” she said.

Norma said it makes her happy to make other people happy with her piano playing.

“Yesterday when I played, they wanted me to play a church song for my family, and I did and they said, ‘Oh, that sounded so good,’” she said.

Norma broke her hip a couple of years ago, so she uses a walker, but she still lives at home on her own and drives.

“I’ve got my license until ‘26, so I just tell everybody, ‘I’m on the road. Get off, get over, whatever,’” she said, smiling.

At least once a week, Huddleston takes Norma out to eat at Sunshine Cafe. They have been friends for nearly 50 years, getting to know each other through Seymour Christian Church.

Huddleston said she was 21 when she lost her mother, so Norma has been like a second mother to her.

“She’s very giving, very kind. I’ve been blessed to be with her,” Huddleston said.

Sullivan also got to know Norma through Seymour Christian Church.

“I think she has blessed thousands of people,” Sullivan said. “You bring her name up to people you wouldn’t think would even know her, they go, ‘Yes, I know her.’ I said something to somebody the other day, ‘Norma is going to turn 100,’ and they said, ‘You mean Norma Hubbard? She played at my dad’s funeral. She played at my grandpa’s funeral’ or whatever. That’s their memories, good memories because of the way she plays and everything.”

Sullivan said she enjoys her longtime friendship with Norma.

“She has been a blessing to all of us,” Sullivan said.