Automobiles were new to the world and the Marion County Courthouse had just been completed a few years before A.Z. Toney was born in Foxworth on July 28, 1912.
Toney turned 105 last Friday and celebrated over the weekend with friends and family.
“We had a big party at the Magnolia Inn,” he said.
Toney, the son of the late Hugh and Cynthia Toney, said he feels good for his age. As he sat outside in a chair in his front yard last Friday, he spoke about his life of more than a century.
“I’m doing pretty well,” he said. “I don’t really have any aches and pains. My knee hurts sometimes, but not too bad.”
Toney was the second youngest of five children and attended school in Foxworth and Lampton. He spent his first decade in Foxworth and then moved to the east side of the Pearl River. Toney now lives in Columbia and enjoys going out eating and visiting family.
“I grew up over in Foxworth and I remember we played a lot,” he said. “Sometimes I played a little ball, baseball. I worked at Orleans Furniture for 20 years.”
Toney had five children, four girls and a son, who died shortly after birth. His wife, Gertrude, worked for Head Start as a teacher. He now has 11 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
Though he doesn’t get out as much as he once did, Toney still enjoys a garden.
“I grew collard greens, corn, tomatoes and mustard greens,” he said. “I want a fruit tree in my garden. I had to quit doing it about two years ago. But I loved the garden.”
Toney also still enjoys eating.
“I like bell peppers,” he said. “I like mustard greens and smoked meat. I eat a lot of beans and beef. I drink milk, too. I like sweet potatoes and love watermelon.”
Family is also important to Toney and a key to his longevity.
“I took care of my mother for a long time,” he said. “The rest of them (family) were gone. It is important to take care of your parents and obey them.”
Toney said he still tries to get some exercise.
“I’m not able to do much these days,” he said. “I try to go walking as much as I can and I do a little exercise. I try to keep moving.”
Toney, whose picture was shown on Good Morning America last Friday, has advice for those wanting to know his secret to making 105 years.
“Don’t use alcohol or drugs,” he concluded. “Do right. Treat your parents right and God will bless you to live longer. Eat well, too. I like bananas and red apples. I lived a long time on account of I treated my parents right.”
Pictured Above: A.Z. Toney talks about his life from his front yard in Columbia last week. | Photo by Mark Rogers