Keeping it positive

Published 10:42 pm Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Dorothy Daniel has lived her life by one motto.

“Look for the best in somebody,” said her son, Frank. “That’s what she did when she was teaching, and that’s the way she has lived her life.”

Mrs. Daniel has been using that attitude for the last century, literally. Yesterday, she celebrated her 100th birthday with a party thrown by Dr. Ajay Patel and Dr. Cherrie Herrera at Clanton Internal Medicine.

She was born in western Chilton County in a community between Stanton and Plantersville on Feb. 3, 1909, and all except for going to college at Auburn, she has been in Chilton County ever since.

Mrs. Daniel is also a graduate of Dallas County High School. In both high school and college, she played basketball. A few years ago, she received her letter for her part in the Auburn women’s athletic program, and last year, she was honored at halftime of Auburn vs. Mississippi State game on her 99th birthday.

Yesterday, the large crowd gathered around her and sang “Happy Birthday” as Patel played on his violin. They also put together a slide show for her.

“We want to thank Dr. Patel and Dr. Herrera for planning this party,” Frank said.

Many of those who came to the event were Mrs. Daniel’s former students. She taught home economics, science and English at Maplesville High School.

It was at Maplesville where she met her future husband and then MHS principal J.E. Daniel.

“Dad hired her in 1931 and married her in 1934,” Frank said.

Mrs. Daniel has two children, Frank Daniel and Nancy Ellis. She also has two grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

Frank said his mom and dad had difficult times, especially when they first married in the 1930s. When Frank was a baby, their house burned, and his parents had to rebuild.

“It was difficult, but they always provided for us. They told us the best thing you can do is a college education,” he said.

Both Frank and Nancy graduated from college and became teachers.

Now, Mrs. Daniel has spent more time in her life retired than she did teaching. She has always loved nature, and she has enjoyed gardening.

“She’s always had a positive outlook on life,” Frank said.