GROVE - On Thursday, February 6, the City of Grove celebrated the 100th birthday of Sarah Shepherd and joined in the joy of her induction into the Centenarians of Oklahoma.
Hosted by her children, Kay Fleming of Grove and James Shepherd of Hawaii, Shepherd celebrated her milestone birthday at Mazzio's Pizza with cake, chocolate covered macadamia nuts and a large number of pictures.
The Centenarians of Oklahoma awarded Shepherd with a certificate, a 'Golden Okie' button, a guardian angel pin and a birthday card. Shepherd is the 2425 inductee into the group.
From Humble Beginnings
Shepherd was born on February 6, 1920 to John Henry Strain and Imogene Rossetter in Murphy, Texas. Strain worked as a farmer, while his wife was a homemaker and nurse. Shepherd was one of nine children and rode a horse to and from high school. From there, Shepherd attended a beauty college in Lubbock.
While in Lubbock, Shepherd would meet the man she would marry, James Shepherd, who's sister went to the same beauty college. James worked at the lumber yard. The two were married on February 4, 1920, just before Shepherd's twentieth birthday. They had three children, James Jr., Kay and Billy, who is deceased.
Work as a Rosie
When the United States became involved with World War II, Shepherd began working as a Rosie the Riveter for North American Aviation Plant in Dallas. Shepherd's now widowed mother joined her at the plant, making the mother daughter team complete.
"We were both sent to riveting school in Dallas for training, now riveting wasn't that difficult, but you needed to know where to put them, very detailed work," said Shepherd in a book entitled 'Rosie the Riveter Stories: How They Did It!'. "We were both proud to have been Rosie the Riveters and were glad to do our part."
The two worked on B-25 Mitchell Bombers, a favorite transportation of the troops, because of their reliability.
Shepherd said that she took a leave of absence to see her husband before he shipped out of San Diego, but the war was declared over and James never had to leave. Shepherd's mother continued to work at the plant until after V-J Day (Victory over Japan Day) and all the Rosies had to find other work.
Too many major milestones in American history have occurred during Shepherd's life to list all of them, but the list below includes some of the major inventions and conveniences we enjoy and moments we now remember:
• Insulin - 1923
• Hearing Aids - 1924
• Television - 1925
• Penicillin - 1928
• Electric Razor - 1931
• Electric Guitar - 1935
• Helicopters - 1939
• World War II - 1939-1945
• Nuclear Bomb - 1945
• Microwave Oven - 1946
• Credit Cards - 1950
• Vietnam War - 1950-1953
• Transistor Radio - 1953
• Video Games - 1958
• JFK's Assassination - 1963
• Artificial Heart - 1968
• Internet - 1969
• Personal Computer - 1975
• Personal Stereo - 1979
• Space Shuttle Challenger Explosion - 1986
• Disposable Contact Lenses - 1987
• Hubble Telescope - 1990
• Persian Gulf War - 1991
• The Oklahoma City Bombing - 1995
• MP3 Player - 1998
• 911 - 2001
• Space Shuttle Columbia Explosion - 2003
• Iphone - 2007
• The Boston Marathon Bombing - 2013
More about Shepherd
Shepherd's hobbies over the years have included crocheting and making plastic canvas calendars. Additionally she volunteered and traveled with the Volunteer Christian Builders Organization, helping to build churches. As for her favorites, 'On the Road Again' by Willie Nelson is her favorite song, she enjoys Spam and barbecue and her favorite holiday is Christmas.
"Give respect to older people and the military. Learn to do something useful and not have a phone or game in your hands all the time. Cook, sew and garden because someday you will need these skills," said Shepherd.