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Three days of special birthday parties have begun for Ethel Talley of Tifton, who turned a spry 105 years old on Thursday.

Born Jan. 22, 1910, in Irwin County, Mrs. Talley has lived in Tift County all her life, including residing in the same house in Chula for about 75 years. Since 2009, she has lived at Southern Care Assisted Living in Tifton.

 "Everybody is real good to me here," Mrs. Talley said recently at Southern Care.

 She also shared her secrets to a long life: "Don't eat a lot of sweets, and read the Bible two times a day." And, she added, "Keep working, walking and talking."

On Thursday, her birthday began with a trip to the beauty shop and then lunch and a birthday cake. Later,  

Dr. David Bridges, president of Abraham Baldwin Agricultural College, greeted her on behalf of ABAC for being the college's oldest alumna; she attended when it was still South Georgia A&M. The day ended with children from Mother's Love Child Care bringing her birthday cards and singing "Happy Birthday." 

The celebration continues today (Friday) with another party at Southern Care Assisted Living and a party Saturday at Tifton's First Baptist Church. 

Mrs. Talley was married to the late A.W. "Buster" Talley for 62 years. She said they ran down to Jasper, Fla., to get married when she was 18 and a half -- and then they came back home. For a while, she was a clerk at the former Cohen's Department Store in Tifton. 

When her husband retired, Mrs. Talley said they bought a motor home and visited nearly every state. 

One of her favorite memories is "going to Grandma's house; she always had good food cooked. She had an 

apple and a fig tree in the yard. I used to watch her crochet." 

Among her hobbies are reading the Bible, playing bingo and doing word search puzzles.

"One recent night, I was working late in my office. The lights had been dimmed in the lobby and I heard someone shuffling out there," said Southern Care Administrator Frank Sayles Jr. "I got up to look and it was Mrs. Talley. 'I'm just coming out to get my word puzzle,' she said brightly."

Mrs. Talley was the oldest of three sisters and a brother. She has three children, six grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Her oldest daughter is Sue Sirmans, her son is Buddy Talley and her youngest daughter is June Branch, all of Tifton.

Talley with daughter June & children from Mother's Love Child Care.