Evelyn Kicksey looks on the “good side of life,” and said having “a good outlook” has helped her enjoy her 105 years. “I think you don’t put yourself first, you put others first,” she said, as she stitched on a quilt and visited with friends at Colona United Methodist Church, and she threads her own needles.

Evelyn Kicksey looks on the “good side of life,” and said having “a good outlook” has helped her enjoy her 105 years.

“I think you don’t put yourself first, you put others first,” she said, as she stitched on a quilt and visited with friends at Colona United Methodist Church, and she threads her own needles.

Kicksey, who lives in her own home in Colona, celebrated her 105th birthday at a family gathering in Woodhull and continued the celebration on her birth date, Aug. 18, at a luncheon with church friends.

She has been a member of the Colona church since 1955 and prior to that was a member of the Cambridge United Methodist Church.

She was married to the late Fred Kicksey, and she has a daughter, Joyce Falline, Lady Lake, Fla.; two daughters are deceased, Janet Sellers and Shirley Griggs; one living step daughter, Joy McCord, Wichita, Kan., and one step daughter who is deceased, Janet McElwee; 11 grandchildren; 12 great-grandchildren; 13 great-great-grandchildren, “and two more on the way,” Kicksey said.

According to her friend, Barb Searle, also a member of the Colona church, and who quilts with Kicksey, said she rarely misses the Wednesday quilting gatherings and is at worship services almost every Sunday. “Evelyn has an excellent memory,” said Searle. “When you are in a quilting group, you learn a lot about the people you quilt with, their families and their thoughts.”

“I love to quilt and embroider,” Kicksey said. “I guess I have good genes because my great-grandmother lived to be 100.”

She considers her church friends “family,” she said. “Everybody is good to me and sees that I get to church. It just feels right to go to church. It is a wonderful church and everyone is so good. That’s the beauty of a small church.”

She is very appreciative of the effort made by Steve Durian and a team from the Rebuilding Together of Henry County organization.

“Steve Durian did something wonderful at my house to make it easier for me to get up and down the steps,” she said. “He made the steps wider and shorter and that is heaven sent.

“I have a good faith and I feel like I have been blessed, even though I have had a lot of tragedy in my life,” she said.

The tragedy to which she refers includes the deaths of her husband and two daughters.

Kicksey was diagnosed with colon cancer about 10 years ago and after surgery and treatment, is considered a cancer survivor.

When she approached her 103rd birthday, Kicksey decided to give up her driver’s license.

“I was 103, and I didn’t want to take that test anymore,” she said.

Even though she is still able to quilt, embroider and thread her own needles, she no longer reads books, but does enjoy listening to books on tape and watching television.

“I read my Bible and the Upper Room (devotion) every night,” she said. “That is calming for me. I also know I want the hymn, ‘How Great Thou Art,’ sang at my funeral. That has been the hymn at all the funerals for our family.”

When asked about favorite food or drink, Kicksey said, “I’m a Swede, and I like my coffee.”

Searle added at one time her friend made the “most wonderful rye bread. She still makes pies and cookies.”

“One year, I made 23 different kinds of Christmas cookies,” Kicksey said. “I know, I counted. I can’t stand that long anymore so I only make the kind of cookies I can do in my hand mixer.”