Grace Leavitt Carter may be 17 years away from being the oldest
woman in the world, but for friends in Lewiston and Cornish and family throughout Utah, her turning 101 years old Nov. 16 was reason enough to have a weeklong celebration.Carter lives with her daughter, Laura Carter Dorius, in Lewiston. However, she was born in Joseph, Sevier County, and spent most of her life there. She helped her husband run a small service station and cafe there for 12 years.
When asked to what she attributes her long life, Carter could think of only one thing: always working hard. She said having 10 children also made her a strong person.
Even today, Carter said she keeps herself in good physical condition. Every morning, she does about 20 arm and leg lifts. She repeats these exercises in the afternoon and then walks up and down the ramp in front of her home with the aid of her walker.
"I'm keeping going," she said.
Dressed in a bright blue dress, decorated with the Centenarian pin she was sent by Gov. Norm Bangerter, Carter was very alert, getting involved in the conversation her daughter was having with visiting friends. She easily recalls her grade-school best friend's name and the songs she used to sing as they walked fences.
A master with her hands, Carter enjoyed cooking, sewing, painting, quilting, rugmaking and embroidery. She said her father used to buy her all the material she wanted to embroider.
"I can't see very well so I can't do all of it anymore, but I would like to," she said.
Carter has more than 200 grandchildren, great grandchildren and great-great grandchildren. Of her 10 children, five are still living. Two of her sisters are also still alive.
Wiping a tear from her eye Carter said, "I am really lonesome for my husband." He died 34 years ago.
Carter said she still feels very healthy and continues to do most things for herself.
"I only want to live until I start becoming a burden on my children," she said. "I don't want other people having to wait on me."