The brass plaque that proclaims ''Howdy'' on the rocking chairs at Shepherd of the Valley - Niles welcomes everyone to sit and rock a spell.
Ed Johnson and his sister, Jean Davis, recently donated the two rockers in memory of their mother, Sally Johnson, for the front porch at the facility. The family said the chairs needed to say "Howdy" because it reflects their mother's spirit.
"Mom greeted everyone with a 'howdy'," Johnson said. Along with his sister, Johnson said the gift was commensurate with their mother's philosophy, which they wanted to memorialize.
Sally Johnson, who passed away March 24 at Shepherd of the Valley, was recently honored by her family, who donated two rocking chairs in her memory to the facility.
"She was a giving person who came from a generation where you sat on the porch and visited with family and neighbors," he said.
According to a press release issued by Shepherd of the Valley, Sally Johnson always said she attributed her long life and good health to hard work. She experienced a great deal in nearly 103 years, including the horrific flu pandemic of 1918, WWI, women gaining the right to vote, the invention of the automobile, the Great Depression, talking films, World War II, the Korean War, Vietnam, television, men on the moon and the Internet, and she witnessed all of this while raising 16 children, eight of which her husband brought into the marriage, two of her own, and six they had together.
In addition to raising her large family during WWII, Sally, her daughter, Helen, and several neighbors traveled to Abington, Va., six days each week to load military shells for the Navy. According to Helen, Sally remembered receiving gas ration stamps since she worked for the war effort.
"We gave them to Blanche Miller to keep gasoline in the car so we could make the trip to our job," Helen said.
At the age of 43, Sally and her family moved to Ohio. She worked in several occupations including as a press operator in a local laundry and as house mom at her son-in-law Ray's rooming house in Warren.
"She lived on her own until she was 97," Ed Johnson said. "So many people have their kids telling them it's time to move and it's a hard sell. Mom made the decision to move to a senior apartment on her own. From there she moved to assisted living and then to Amaryllis Avenue in the nursing center at Shepherd Niles."
"She loved the staff and enjoyed living at Shepherd," Davis said.