Elsie at 103: Woman says key to longevity is faith in God
by Sally Litchfield
MDJ Features Editor
sallylit@bellsouth.net
October 24, 2012 12:00 AM | 4478 views | 0 0 comments | 12 12 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Elsie Fitzgerald, who turned 103 years old on Sept. 11, is photographed at Smyrna First Baptist Church with her five children: from left, Stuart Travis of Alexandria, Va.; Gayle Farmer of Acworth; Ken Travis of Smyrna; Twila Blankenship of Smyrna; and Ed Travis of Cumming. <br>Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
Elsie Fitzgerald, who turned 103 years old on Sept. 11, is photographed at Smyrna First Baptist Church with her five children: from left, Stuart Travis of Alexandria, Va.; Gayle Farmer of Acworth; Ken Travis of Smyrna; Twila Blankenship of Smyrna; and Ed Travis of Cumming.
Staff/Jon-Michael Sullivan
slideshow
Fitzgerald’s senior portrait from 1927.
Fitzgerald’s senior portrait from 1927.
slideshow
A memory board displays a photo from her childhood home in the early 1900s beside a more recent photo of the house.
A memory board displays a photo from her childhood home in the early 1900s beside a more recent photo of the house.
slideshow
Photos from Fitzgerald’s childhood are displayed on a memory board.
Photos from Fitzgerald’s childhood are displayed on a memory board.
slideshow

Fitzgerald blows out three candles at her birthday party on Sept. 11 at SFBC.<br>Special/The Travis Family
Fitzgerald blows out three candles at her birthday party on Sept. 11 at SFBC.
Special/The Travis Family
slideshow
At 103 years old, Elsie Fitzgerald shares her insight for staying young: “The secret to my long life is my faith in God and taking one day at a time.”

Fitzgerald was born in Kansas on Sept. 11, 1909. As a young child Fitzgerald, a Mayflower descendant, moved to Illinois. Her family moved to Atlanta the year she graduated from high school.

Married to Virgil Travis for 22 years until his death, Fitzgerald subsequently wed Allen Fitzgerald and was married 18 years when he died.

“One of the biggest challenges I faced in my life was being left a widow with five children ranging in age from kindergarten to college,” she said. Her children are Ken Travis, Twila Blankenship, Stuart Travis, Gayle Farmer and Ed Travis. Another one of her children died at age 2.

“A lesson I learned in life is to always look to God, for He will never let you down. People are human and they will sometimes let you down,” she said.

Staying active is also an important factor in Fitzgerald’s life. She started exercise classes in her 40s and continued to exercise through the years.

“I’m not one to eat a lot of junk food either,” said the grandmother of 13 grandchildren and 25 great grandchildren.

Although Fitzgerald worked for State Neon Company where she was office manager, her work with children and her church played a major role in her life. For 63 years, Fitzgerald taught Sunday School. Today she works with first- and second-graders at Smyrna First Baptist Church.

Fitzgerald received her piano teaching certificate at the age of 15. She taught piano and enjoyed playing for different church groups including the Children’s Choir throughout the years. She still attends the Women’s Mission Union at SFBC and enjoys Wednesday night supper and prayer meeting. She is also a past president of the church Living Longer and Liking It group that meets monthly.

At one time she taught swimming lessons to children with physical handicaps at the YWCA.

“I myself have always enjoyed swimming. I also enjoyed water aerobics for many years but gave that up two years ago,” she said.

One of her hobbies is crocheting.

“I lost count of how many baby afghans I have made and given to grandchildren, great-grandchildren and babies at the church,” she said.

Fitzgerald continues to be fairly independent. She lived by herself until two years ago when she moved in with her daughter, Twila. She dresses herself and operates her TV remote. Though she does not read as many books as she used to, Fitzgerald continues to read newspapers and magazines.

Comments
(0)
Comments-icon Post a Comment
No Comments Yet
*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides