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‘Outlived a lot of ‘em:’ Cumming Health and Rehab residents celebrate 100th birthday
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Cumming Health and Rehab residents Nellie Allison, left, and Dorothy Powers celebrate their 100th birthdays in October 2022. Photo courtesy of Cumming Health and Rehab.

Nellie Allison and Dorothy Powers’ family and friends came out to Forsyth County at the end of October to celebrate a rare milestone — their 100th birthdays.

The Cumming Health and Rehab residents donned birthday tiaras while they enjoyed cake and ice cream and spent time with their closest loved ones. And their families couldn’t help but reflect on the last century of Nellie and Dorothy’s lives.

“It’s really exciting,” said Sandy Tracy, Dorothy’s daughter.

Dorothy grew up in Iowa where she spent most of her 100 years with brief stops in Texas and California as her husband served at different posts in the military.

She ultimately decided not to take on a career to stay home and take care of their kids, but she ended up working at a factory for a couple of years during World War II while her husband was overseas.

And no matter where Dorothy and her husband moved or what was going on in their lives, Sandy said she always found time for church.

“Every place she moved to, she would look for a church community,” said Kevin Tracy, Sandy’s husband. “She made that a priority every time she went anywhere else.”

Even now that she can’t see well to read, Dorothy uses a recorder to listen to scriptures from the Bible. That devotion coupled with her easygoing nature makes it easy for her to always find a church group to connect with.

Dorothy first decided to move down to Georgia to be near Sandy and Kevin around 11 years ago.

“When she was 89, she called me and said, ‘I think I want to come down there [to Georgia] because I couldn’t move when I’m 90,’” Sandy said, laughing.

So they found her a low income apartment in Alpharetta where she lived independently until 2018. She first moved into Cumming Health and Rehab in May 2019 where she met Nellie, her now fellow centenarian.

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From the left, Betty Fogal, Alma Abercrombie, Joe Jones and Robert Jones stand around Nellie Allison to celebrate her 100th birthday. For the FCN.
Nellie grew up in south Georgia as the oldest of 14 siblings, four boys and 10 girls, and one of her youngest sisters, Alma Abercrombie, said she always worked to help take care of them when she could.

“She was sort of our second mom because I was only maybe nine when my momma got real sick,” Alma said, explaining that Nellie was always the one to make sure everyone had food at the table and a gift on Christmas day.

Nellie got married when she was 16 years old and eventually moved to the Atlanta area where she and her husband had three kids, a daughter and two sons. And even though she took care of her kids and worked full-time at Big Star Supermarket, Alma said she still always made time to take care of others.

“She had a boy who, when he was 16 years old, was living in a van, and Nell’s son brought him home with him one day,” Alma said. “Next thing they knew, the boy was staying there with Nell until he finished school.

“She was always looking at the other person,” she continued.

Now that Nellie’s memory is fading, Alma said she tries to step up and finally be the one to take care of Nellie for a change, coming to visit her from Conyers every chance she has.

She and about 25 other friends and family members came to Nellie’s birthday party this past week to see her and make new memories while remembering old ones.

“It was great,” Alma said. “To be here that long, she’s outlived a lot of ‘em.”
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An old family photo of Nellie Allison, front row on the far right, along with her siblings and parents. For the FCN.