EATON — Eaton resident Iva Cameron Loy turned 100 years old on July 7, 2017, and shared her story earlier this month.
Born in Hamburg (near Eldorado), Loy has resided in Preble County her entire life. Here she raised her children and dotes on her many grandchildren. A resident of Greenbriar Nursing Center, Loy is just as feisty now and she has been her entire life.
She was actually born in her great-grandmother’s bedroom. The eldest of five children, Loy was also the only daughter her parents had. Before turning five, she lived with her Grandma Fudge. There she helped her grandmother clean the church. She also took care of her four brothers.
“It was pretty hectic, you know how boys are. I was the only girl and the one born first,” Loy said. “I helped take care of them when they were little. We got quarantined for scarlet fever. Nobody could come in the house. Grandma would come and look in the window every day to see what the kids were doing. Everybody in the house had scarlet fever, except for Dad and I. We never got it, but we were taking care of everybody else.”
When she started school, at age six, she got there by a kid hack, which was a horse-drawn vehicle used for transporting children to school. It had an oil stove in it to keep warm. She started school at New Paris and then she went to Monroe in the sixth grade.
After high school Loy got married and lived on a farm. Her husband (and father of her children) was actually her neighbor, who according to Loy, was significantly older than her.
“I met him at Grandpa and Grandma Cameron’s house. That is where I met him and he was much older than myself. That worked out fine for me, but for the kids it was like being raised by a grandfather,” she joked.
Loy worked hard on her farm. She raised chickens, milked the cows, maintained a large garden, and canned vegetables, meat, and fruit. She also raised three children — two girls and a boy.
She is also a 68-year member of the Order of the Eastern Star in Englewood (formerly located in Lewisburg). Loy said, “I was a Past Matron. Now, I went through all the chairs in Eastern Star and became a Worthy Matron. That was 60-something years ago when I was a Matron. It was a lot of work and I’ve had a lot of fun. I’m not supposed to give any secrets away now.”
In addition to serving with the Order of the Eastern Star, maintaining a farm, and raising her children, Loy also taught sewing for 4-H for 20 years in Monroe. A talented seamstress, she made all of her children’s clothing growing up, and specifically, her daughter’s wedding clothes.
“I did more inside than I did outside,” Loy said. “I was good at sewing, so I made practically all of their school clothes and their wedding clothes. It was pretty hard work making the wedding dress that I made, because it had a scalloped neckline and I had to sew that all in. I had to sew that and then turn it so the scallops were all out front.
“Sewing was the thing that I always liked better than anything else in my life. I’ve always like to sew. I even sewed for my grandchildren.”
As for how she feels now that she’s 100, Loy said, “It really doesn’t feel any different now than before I was 100, except my biggest problem now is that I forget more easily. That is about the only difference, I feel. My greatest memories in life are my grandchildren. As for any advice I would have, I’d say, don’t worry about anything.”
Reach Kelsey Kimbler at 937-683-4061 or on Twitter @KKimbler_RH