CARTER COUNTY, Tenn. (WJHL) – Gertrude Bishop, known as Pete by friends and family, spent her Saturday celebrating a milestone that few ever reach: her 104th birthday.
Bishop was born in July of 1917, one year before the conclusion of the first World War. Right now she’s beating the United States average life expectancy by over 25 years, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
“I don’t have one,” Bishop said when asked about the secret to her longevity. “I’m just me.”
This year’s birthday gifts featured cake, cards, flowers, $104 cash and two dozen roses.
At 19 years old, Bishop became a high school home economics and English teacher and was called Ms. Bishop by her students, many of whom are now nearing 100 years old themselves.
When asked about what she learned from her experience in the field, Bishop told News Channel 11 that there’s no advice she could give teachers today, that the best they can do is make their own way.
Bishop lives at home with her daughter, Paula, and is known as an avid fan of the Elizabethton Twins Baseball Team. For her 100th birthday Bishop threw an opening pitch for the Twins, and she remembers cheering from the stands since their first game.
Bishop’s family told News Channel 11 that her teaching habits tended to come home with her, with etiquette lessons at the dinner table and an emphasis on manners at home.
Bishop said her most important lesson in life is to keep good character.