Lolete Ratliff

Lolete Ratliff opens gifts Feb. 8 during her 100th birthday celebration at Rosewood Retirement Community.

A candy and ice cream diet is what got Lolete Ratliff to the age of 100, she said while celebrating her 100th birthday among family and friends at a party Feb. 8 at Rosewood Retirement Community in Harker Heights.

Ratliff spent the afternoon wearing a bright blue suit and a smile on her face as she was greeted with “happy birthday” by the dozens who came from near and far.

David Templeton was among the visitors who recalled the memories he had with his first cousin.

“She’s a great lady, has a wonderful time, never aged in spirit and just a fine person,” he said. “She was much older than I when I was a kid, but I remember playing dominoes on the front porch of her daddy’s house starting late Saturday night into the early Sunday morning before going to church.”

Her daughter Tina Ratliff, 67, calls Ratliff a reckless bidder, especially when it comes to playing the domino game 42.

“She’s always optimistic and laughs about things,” she said, “She would say, ‘Why cry about things when you can laugh?’ and I think that’s one of the reasons she’s lived so long.”

Ratliff was born in 1913 and raised in Lone Grove, now a ghost town in Llano County.

“People thought we were really country and hicks, but it’s wonderful to have the love that everyone had for each other in a very small place,” said Betty Perryman, Ratliff’s cousin.

While enjoying the music, eating birthday cake and looking at photos of herself from younger years, Ratliff said making it this far in life was not something she expected

“I think people would rather die young,” she said.

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