HUBER HEIGHTS — U.S. Senators Sherrod Brown and Rob Portman, Ohio Governor John Kasich, Huber Heights Mayor Thomas McMasters and Montgomery County Commissioner Dan Foley were among those who sent letters of congratulations to Ruth Bayes, a resident at The Laurels of Huber Heights, as she celebrated her 100th birthday on Thursday afternoon.
But even more special than those letters, may have been the baseball autographed for her by Baseball Hall of Fame player Joe Morgan. Bayes always enjoyed watching the Cincinnati Reds and The Big Red Machine when Morgan, Pete Rose and Tony Perez were playing.
“She’s thrilled with it,” said her daughter Jessie Poteet.
“I think it’s great that he gave me the ball,” said Bayes, who has been a resident at The Laurels for the past 13 years.
Employees, residents and family members celebrated the event by singing Happy Birthday to Bayes followed by cake and ice cream.
“We are so proud to be a part of this special occasion with you today,” said Jenny Hatfield, activity director at The Laurels.
Bayes, who was seated at a table of honor in the dining room, was asked what she thought of the celebration.
“I think it’s great,” she said. “I don’t deserve it.”
When asked about her secret to reaching 100, she said, “The good Lord has been good to me.”
“I think it’s a wonderful day for her,” said Poteet. “Even the fire chief gave his approval for the party. It’s been great.”
Poteet, who lives in Huber Heights, was asked why her mom has lived to be 100.
“I think she’s 100 because she’s tried to live close to the Lord as best as she knows how and He’s been…very, very good to her.”
Poteet recalled when her mother was a seamstress at Lion Uniforms for about 20 years in East Dayton sewing emblems on uniforms with an industrial machine for gas station attendants.
Bayes, who lived in Paintsville, Kent., came to Ohio in 1951. She is a World War I widow as her husband, Ray, who served in the Navy, passed away in 1976. Due to a loss of hearing, Ray received an honorable discharge from the Navy in 1918, according to Poteet.
Jean Clark also sat next to Bayes.
“I’ve known her for 15 years and she’s been a wonderful person,” said Clark, who resides in Huber Heights.
Debbie McDonald, Administrative Assistant at The Laurels, said she has been honored to know Bayes.
“I’ve known her for six years and just her grace and just the things that she has lived through just amazes me and she’s still so witty to this day,” said McDonald. “I’m honored to have known her.”
Reach Greg Smart at 937-236-4990, ext. 2542 or on Twitter @HH_Courier.com.