Serving others secret to 100-year-old’s longevity

by Sherry Hamilton - Posted on Jun 01, 2011 - 03:57 PM

Photo: James Bowden of Ark turned 100 years old on June 1 and will celebrate his birthday this weekend with family, friends and neighbors at Zion Hill Baptist Church. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

James Bowden of Ark turned 100 years old on June 1 and will celebrate his birthday this weekend with family, friends and neighbors at Zion Hill Baptist Church. Photo by Sherry Hamilton.

James Bowden turned 100 years old on Wednesday, and he has a bit of advice for those who want to live a long, satisfying life. Be obedient, honor your father and mother, and help other people.

"That’s what the Lord put you on earth here for," he said. "Serving others—that’s the main thing."

Sitting in the well-furnished dining room of his two-story home on Route 17 last week, Bowden didn’t look as though he’s been around for a century. A trim man, his back is still straight, his hands are strong-looking, and there’s hardly a line on his face.

Bowden ran an automobile radiator shop at Ark for 43 years before retiring for good in 1983. He said he never had a monthly payment on his house, and he’s been able to spend his retirement years helping others. But he came from modest beginnings.