Pam Dudding, Contributing writer
Not everyone gets to enjoy a long life on this earth. However, occasionally, one turns the big 100 and a grand celebration is warranted.
On March 1, Ida Louise Bales (McCormick) Layman celebrated her 100th birthday with many family members, friends and staff from Richfield Nursing Center. She even joined in the singing when people started singing happy birthday to her.
Johnny McCormick, her son, and other family members booked the conference room for the party at Richfield, where she lives. Many family members, including her sister’s children, attended. Layman also has another son, Ronnie McCormick.
Layman was showered with presents that made her day extra special. “Her room was full of stuffed animals,” Johnny said.
Born in 1920, Layman has seen much change in the world around her. One thing that she still holds dear is her family and she said that this particular party “made my year.”
Ida’s parents were Warren and Marth Bales, and she had two brothers and four sisters. She is the last living of all her siblings. Her sister, however, Marie made it to 99 years.
Ida married twice. Her first husband, Earl McCormick, from Pearisburg, died in August of 1963 at just 45 years of age. She later married Henry Layman in 1967 in her sister’s home in Giles County. Sadly, he died in 2001 at 76.
Layman lived in New Castle from 1946 until 2012, until she had to go to Richfield Nursing Home due to an injury. “I was paying $10,000 a month for nurses and finally had to go to Richfield,” Johnny said.
Their first home was an apartment over top of the old Mick-or-Mack store on Main Street, and then they bought a nice two-story house in 1950, a block off Main Street.
Johnny shared that they still drove to Pearisburg every weekend to see family.
“Most of the time family reunions were at our house because we had such a big yard, plus dad added a lot to the house and the big porch,” he said. “Also, daddy bought us a farm on John’s Creek and a big fishpond for me and Ronnie. We hunted and fished up there.”
Layman and her husband also bought the building across the street from them on Main Street, which housed their business, McCormick Furniture Company. At the time, Dawson Funeral Home was upstairs.
Ida enjoyed working at the store from the 1940s until 1964 when she retired and she sold the property to Bobby Kibler.
“We got the building back later,” Johnny said before adding, “Then Trivette made a garment factory in there, and after that, there was an antique shop and finally, she sold it to the senior citizens.”
Johnny noted that, “Mom loved the Garden Club and was also a member of the Rescue Squad Auxiliary.”
Johnny joined as a junior member because he was too young to be a senior member. “I used to go to the Glider Port every weekend and take the food up there with mama,” he added. “She served and cooked. I also remember her volunteering at the REA meetings where she peeled a ton of potatoes for that.”
Ida still resides at Richfield where Johnny said her nurses take really good care of her. “Her roommate takes really good care of her too and they get along great. She’s super,” Johnny said while hugging his mom. “She may live another 20 years,” Johnny added before sharing that she never misses a meal because she loves to eat. “Ida just keeps smiling and enjoying life.”