Centenarian ‘happy to know Him’

Published 10:31 pm Friday, May 23, 2014

Sallie Mozelle Giles has the secret to longevity. But if she has anything to say about it — and she does — it won’t be a secret for long.

“I love my Lord Jesus Christ,” said Giles, who turned 100 on Friday. “I’m just happy to know Him.”

Sallie Giles, seated right, turned 100 years old on Friday. She is pictured with her sister, Annie Bell Radden, 97, and her daughter, Sylvia Bennett.

Sallie Giles, seated right, turned 100 years old on Friday. She is pictured with her sister, Annie Bell Radden, 97, and her daughter, Sylvia Bennett.

Giles was born in a little town called Ninety Six, S.C. Her father was superintendent of the Sabbath School at the Seventh-Day Adventist church.

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At a young age, she was already a believer in God.

“I remember being about 5 or 6 and laying in the grass,” she said. “I looked up at the blue sky, and I said, ‘There must be something up there.’”

She followed her sister to Hampton Roads at the age of 18 or 19. She settled in Portsmouth and married Robert Giles on Dec. 24, 1939. A man came around every week to collect $5 toward the mortgage on their first home, which had a purchase price of only $2,400.

She worked as a housekeeper — making $1 a week when she first started — and had two daughters, who now have given her two grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

Giles recently moved in with her daughter, Sylvia Bennett, who lives in downtown Suffolk.

Giles enjoys growing flowers and vegetables, reading — especially her Bible — and talking to others.

“I’m happy to be 100 because there’s so much I’d like to tell people about while I’m here,” she said. “There’s nobody I dislike. I love everybody.”

In addition to her faith, Giles attributes her longevity to living right and eating right. She has avoided pork for most of her life in keeping with the dietary restrictions to which most Seventh-Day Adventists adhere. She also credits a positive attitude.

“Since I found Him, I’m just happy all the time,” she said. “I don’t have anything to complain about, because God’s been good to me. If I get worried, I know what to do — I pick up the Bible.”

Giles expects she’ll be around for another few years.

“I plan on being around for a while more,” she said. “When He’s ready to get me, I’ll be ready to go.”