Hopkins County Judge Cletis Milsap (back left) and Fall Festival Senior Citizens Day coordinator Karon Weatherman (back center) presented Longevity Awards to Guy Jumper (front, left) and Mary Vance (front right) on Tuesday. Also pictured is Sherry Lee, Guy Jumper's daughter.
Staff Photo By Jessica Worth

Jumper, Vance, Hughes take home Longevity Awards

By FAITH HUFFMAN, News-Telegram News Editor

Sept. 17, 2008 - Eight Hopkins County residents were recognized Tuesday afternoon with the first-ever "Longevity Awards," presented as part of Senior Citizens Day at the Fall Festival.

The awards recognized Hopkins County residents who have lived the longest and resided the longest in Hopkins County, as well as a local couple married and living the longest in the county.

The standout at the Longevity Award was Guy Jumper, who went home with two awards. Jumper not only was named the "Male Living In Hopkins County, Texas The Longest" at 103, he was also recognized as the "Oldest Living Person in Hopkins County." He has been a resident of Hopkins County since his birth on June 22, 1905.

"He remembers covered wagons and wild Indians," said Sherry Lee, Jumper's daughter, who noted that he has talked about being afraid of the "wild Indians" as a child. "He was in World War II. He drove an ammunition truck. He was an older man in the Army."

Sherry said her father "never dreamed he'd live to be 103," saying he was never healthy.

"Well, evidently," Lee said looking fondly at her dad, " he was very healthy."

Honored as the "Oldest Living Female in Hopkins County" at 102 years old was Mary Vance, born May 5, 1906.

The Longevity Award for being the "Female Living in Hopkins County, Texas the Longest" went to Ola Hughes, who was unable to be present to accept the award Tuesday. Vance may have her beat in age, but Hughes was recognized because she has resided in the county since her birth on July 25, 1906.

Honored for more than 75 years of marriage were L.E. and Opal Richardson. They went home with the Longevity Award for "Couple Married the Longest Period of Time in Hopkins County." The Richardsons have been married for 76 years, reciting their vows on Jan. 2, 1932.

The recipients of these awards, in addition to certificates, went home with framed depictions of Hopkins County Courthouse, items donated by local artist Jerry Lee. Jumperalso went home with a small "box top" model of the Hopkins County Courthouse, also donated by Lee.

The program was devised by Sulphur Springs Senior Citizens Center Program and Marketing Director Karon Weatherman, who herself was honored Saturday as the Fall Festival parade marshal for her tireless efforts for the seniors she serves and the community. Awards were based on nominations submitted by friends, family and residents. Each recipient of the five main awards was given a certificate signed by Weatherman and County Judge Cletis Millsap and stamped with the county seal. Each will also get awards of recognition from the Governor's Office. Framed photos of the courthouse were also donated by Jerry Lee for the award recipients.

Also recognized with certificates Tuesday were the oldest male and female present at the Longevity Awards presentation and Senior Citizens Day activities. John Molohon, 95, was recognized as the oldest person in attendance at Senior Citizens Day (aside from the aforementioned honorees, of course) and Bea Spencer, at 90, was both the next oldest and oldest female.

Weatherman noted both Molohon and Spencer are regulars at the Senior Citizens Center and still very active. Molohon recently had surgery and required a walking device to assist him, but still managed to walk to the front of the gathering to accept his award.

The Senior Citizens Day also included a mini health fair with about a dozen vendors, drawings for door prizesm, and bingo. Before going to the gathering, about 75 senior citizens enjoyed a meal of chicken salad, pimento cheese salad, pasta salad, fresh fruit, crackers and dessert prepared by Weatherman, Billie Couthran and Ida Martin.

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