In early April, Lenice Massey’s family gathered to help her celebrate 100 years of life.
“I got to see a lot of people and family I haven't seen for a long time,” the Topeka Presbyterian Manor resident said. “I had a wonderful time.”
Lenice was born April 8, 1919, near Kansas City, and, like everyone else, she’s experienced a life of ups and downs.
World War II had a significant impact on those who lived through that period of history, and it was no different for Lenice. Her husband was killed in battle, leaving her to raise and provide for two sons.
“I didn’t have a choice,” she said. “I had to work to make a living.”
The family struggled to get by for many years until Lenice’s friend - a Kansas legislator - invited her to Topeka and introduced her to key people at the capitol. She was soon employed by the state and spent her career working as the business manager for the Department of Health and Environment. She earned her college degree at age 51.
Lenice counts raising her two sons as one of the blessings in her life.
“I had lots of good moments,” she said. “I watched them grow up and marry and have children. I’ve had lots of good friends and family.”
Another blessing is Lenice’s gift of creativity and design - which resulted in her overseeing construction of three homes.
“I always loved to draw,” she said, “and I was always designing something.”
She became interested in home architecture - seeking knowledge and advice from professionals and reading floor plans. It became a hobby, and then it became more than that.
Lenice designed her homes, had the plans drawn up, and managed construction. For health reasons, she recently had to move out of her last house - eventually finding a new home at Presbyterian Manor. But she sees this as another blessing.
“It is so nice and so clean, and they’re so good to you here,” Lenice said. “They care about you.”
The key to a long life, Lenice said, is to stay engaged and involved.
“I believe in God and was active in church,” she said. “I enjoy people. I enjoy life. Take each day as it comes, and just enjoy the moments.” And also … “Be sure and help other people out when you can.”