A perfect week for centenarian Nelle Corlew includes crossword puzzles, a trip to her hairdresser, chatting with family and friends and going to church on Sundays. “She watches the news and reads the paper,” Jan Bentley, Nelle’s daughter, said. “She’s very aware of what’s going on in the world and she also still enjoys sewing and repairing clothing.”
Born February 15, 1920 in Cumberland Furnace, Tennessee, Nelle is the youngest of seven children. As a young woman, she and her sisters worked at the Cumberland Furnace Iron Works. She was married at 27 and had three children. Before making Huntsville home, the couple lived in Dickson, Tennessee and Wichita Falls, Texas. Following the death of her husband in 1991, Corlew stayed busy. “She’s very schedule oriented, much more so than I am. My mom is really entrenched in her ways,” Jan said. Nowadays, Nelle and Jan are neighbors, which allows her to maintain her independence and still have family near.
Weeks before the COVID-19 pandemic spread in the United States and shuttering social events and made social distance the norm, Corlew’s family celebrated her 100th birthday with a gathering of family and friends. “We had a slideshow of old pictures playing during the party, people fellowshipped and we gave her cake with 100 candles on it,” Bentley said. “A relative representing each one of her siblings was able to attend and it was wonderful for all of us to be together.”
Jan shared that many years ago her mom worked at National Life Insurance Company. Those early years in the financial service industry taught Nelle that she needed a financial advisor who could help her prepare to spend her golden years financially independent, confident and comfortable even if those golden years lasted a long time. Jan and Nelle are both grateful for a retirement that reflects Nelle’s philosophy of staying busy and enjoying her very long life.