The class had gathered in the 3rd floor lobby for their weekly Bible study.
“Where is Eloise?” asked the Bible study leader, Rev. Cindy Neal.
“I’m coming!” came a voice from the staircase. At that moment she was seen climbing the stairs with striking agility.
Everyone began to laugh. “Only Eloise uses the stairs. Don’t you know we have an elevator?”
Perhaps the fact that Eloise Warfield uses the stairs is part of the explanation that she is six months past 100 years old. She most often makes her way with the assistance of a cane and occasionally, she uses her walker. She has lived at Windsor Point for 13 years.
“It’s home to me,” she explains, although the move from her longtime friend’s in Ohio took some adjustment. “But, it was not traumatic,” she continues. “I have two daughters and their families living in the area and have added many friends at Windsor Point.”
Eloise Davis Warfield was born in north Central West Virginia, April 25, 1912. Her mother was a teacher, her father a stockman and farmer. She grew up with a strong work ethic, believing that a “no gooder” was not respected and she was determined to amount to something. She wanted to become a teacher like her mother and attended West Virginia University for two years and graduated from Glenville State College in 1935, majoring in English and French.
“Life is a challenge,” Eloise says and when teaching jobs were not available, she took a job as a waitress. A remarkable chain of events and help from the dining room manager gained her an audience with Dr. John Davis, Superintendent of Schools.
Davis often ate at the hotel restaurant where Eloise worked and he offered her a job as a teacher in a one-room country school. She loved teaching and the next year she was moved into town to a modern “state of the art” school which had the first intercom in the county. For six years she taught fourth grade in the morning and seventh grade English in the afternoon.
Elise married Harry Warfield in 1942 and they were married 47 years.
“He was a wonderful person and died suddenly at 79 years of age,” said Eloise.
During the first few years of marriage after they moved to Newark, Ohio, Eloise worked at the Defense Plant Corporation, a federal installation of World War II, making airplane parts. Her husband worked in marketing at Pure Oil Company/Union 76 for 30 years.
Theirs was a happy marriage and God gave them two lovely daughters, Molly Ann (Flannery) and Janie Ellen (Breece). Eloise is also blessed with two grandsons.
Eloise was a stay-at-home mother until Molly Ann was 4. That is when she began teaching at Denison University. After a year there she started her “second career” as a school librarian. Because she loves literature and poetry, it was the perfect match.
Eloise retired after 20 years when she reached the optimum retire age in Ohio.
“I have never been interested in greatness, but tried to prove my worth to the world,” she said. After retirement Eloise mentored in the public schools until the program was discontinued.
Today, Eloise helps in the library at Windsor Point but her work is limited because she lost the eyesight in her left eye in 1985. At the time, her doctor told her she would probably lose the sight in the other eye within a few years, but Eloise has been spared that.
“I’ve had a good life,” Eloise reports. “I’ve lived during the ‘horse and buggy’ days and reached the ultimate in travel by a flight on the Concorde.”
Eloise has been to 12 countries, plus Hawaii and Alaska. She is not one to be bored and is interested in politics and current affairs.
“I grew up in the country in a setting much like ‘Little House on the Prairie’ and now have a lovely apartment at Windsor Point.”
When asked about the future and politics, she says she is nervous about the future of the government, “but I am not cynical.”
Eloise stays very busy as an active member of the Memoir Writing class and her poems and essays have been bound into a beautiful notebook by her niece. Because of her interest in nursery rhymes, she often gives fellow residents a special treat by dressing up as one of her favorite characters to perform a reading. At Christmas, she dresses in old fashioned night clothes and reads “The Night Before Christmas”.
Eloise’s other activities include singing with the “Silver Belles”, a women’s choral group, Red Hat Society, two Bible studies, Windsor Point Book Club and the Fuquay-Varina Methodist Church. She is a retired member of the American Association of University Women.
Eloise is well loved by her neighbors at Windsor Point. “Eloise is one of the brightest women I know,” said a fellow resident.