Glady Vell Black is celebrating her 100th birthday today, August 24, 2014. She was born in the Republican Community just north of Greenbrier as Glady Vell Reynolds to the late Coy and Rena Castleberry Reynolds.
Glady is the 2nd of 7 children. Her siblings are Amon (Lora Jane) Reynolds, deceased, Ruby (Shannon) Cotton, deceased, Montine (Billy Ray) Nichols, Exine (Bill) Hall, Euna Mae (Hallous) Garrett and a sister who lost her life at the age of 2.
Republican School was where Glady received her education. She was known in the community for her beautiful handwriting and her gorgeous teeth, today still having all but 2 of her own. She attributes this to her childhood habit of chewing on the end of a sweet gum stick until it was frayed and using it as a toothbrush.
On July 15, 1930, Glady married Homer Black. They had 3 children: Faber (Gail), born 1931, Coy Beverly “CB” (Sue), born 1934 and Gloria Jean, born 1938. They also have 7 grandchildren: Debra (Richard) Snuggs, Paul (Jackie) Black, Becky (Ray) Nash, Steve (Linda) Black, Tim Black, Keri (CD) Morgan and Kayne Olive. Their great-grandchildren are Alicia Francis, Kristy Stroman, Josh Camden, Caleb Snuggs, Lainie Hart, Jason Black, Jenny Riley, Brett Homer Black, Breanna Black, Catherine Morgan and Alli Morgan. Glady is also blessed with 23 great, great grand children.
Early in their marriage, Glady and Homer moved to Dyess Colony to farm the rich soil, raising cotton and other crops. Glady was very involved in the farming chores, being known to pick and chop cotton. While there, they lived near Johnny Cash and his family. Glady’s oldest son, Faber, often told about playing in the sand box with Johnny. During the flood of 1937 when people had to be evacuated, the Black’s and Cash’s were rescued on the same train. Johnny Cash wrote the song, How High Is The Water, Mama, portraying his experiences during the Dyess flood of 1937.
The Black family later returned to Faulkner County and settled in Greenbrier. A faithful member of Greenbrier Church of the Nazarene, Glady taught Sunday School for many years. She was a loyal employee for 13 years at Conway Human Development Center, then known as the Children’s Colony. Later she worked for Greenbrier High School.
In 1983 after 53 years of marriage, Glady lost the love of her life, Homer. That year proved to be very difficult because she also lost her oldest child Faber. In 1995, her daughter, Gloria Jean, passed away leaving only Coy Beverly, also known as CB. Sadly, this past April, CB went to be with the Lord leaving Glady as the sole survivor of her immediate family. Glady is from a family of “long-livers.” Her mother, Rena Reynolds, lived to be in her late nineties.
At present, Nana, as she is affectionately known by her many grand children, resides at Greenbrier Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Greenbrier. She is still very healthy and often talks about times passed but has trouble remembering what she did a few minutes ago. She is loved and treasured by her family and friends.