Fred Veasley will celebrate his 102 birthday tomorrow but don’t tell him that, he still feels 102 years young.
Veasley was born June 11, 1912 in Arcadia to Dave and Samantha Veasley. Dave was a hay and cotton farmer and Fred would follow his father’s footsteps.
“I worked hard all my days,” Veasley said. “I rode my horse every day and worked with cattle as well.”
After working with his father, Fred went to work at Oklahoma Furniture Factory in Oklahoma City. The factory then relocated to Guthrie and he has been here ever since.
“I like everything about Guthrie,” Veasley said. “It has changed quite a bit over the years.”
Veasley retired after 30 years with the furniture factory, but he still likes to remain active. He still likes to take his walks and hang out with friends. It wasn’t until a couple of years ago that he stopped mowing his lawn, but if he had it his way, he’d still be out in his yard with a push mower working away.
“He walks all the time,” Lashelle Veasley said. “He just stopped pushing his lawn mower a couple of years ago. He was cutting with a push mower until he was about 98. His daughter Yolanda made him stop doing it. She would hire someone else to come out and do it and when she wasn’t looking, he would sneak out there and get his lawn mower and cut it again because he didn’t think they did it right.” That is probably what embodies Veasley the most, his willingness to work.
“He was very faithful, it didn’t’ matter who you are, he would help you,” Yolanda said.
Many describe Veasley as being a great man and an extremely nice guy and those characteristics are certainly true. But he is also a man who expects nothing in return. While working for the Oklahoma Furniture Factory, he volunteered with the Meals on Wheels organization.
“He volunteered up there for 15 years to help deliver meals,” Lashelle, who works with Meals on Wheels, said. “He would help deliver meals and take them to other cities and to those in town, just all around anything we needed him to do, he would do.”
A lot of things have changed over the course of Veasley’s life. He saw the civil rights movement, the landing on the moon, and the first black president be elected to name a few. Despite of all the technological, political, and social changes throughout his life, there is still one constant and that is that he feels blessed.
“I thank the good Lord that I am here every day,” Veasley said. “I still attend church every Sunday at True Life Church.”
Veasley even takes time out of his day to go and visit his friends…that older than he is.
“He goes and visits a man older than him to see how he is doing” Lashelle said. “He is a 103 years-old. He has to look out for the elderly.”
Tomorrow, Yolanda will throw a party for her father, but it will be a family gathering with some close friends. Lashelle is making his favorite peach cobbler, as they get set to celebrate 102 years of life. Just don’t be surprised to see Fred out on the dance floor showing off his moves.
“I still feel young,” Fred said as he broke into a dance move. “I’ll still shake a leg every once and a while.”