Two local women celebrate 100 years

  • Monday, March 3, 2014

Photo provided Rebecca Izard will turn 100 on March 1.


Mayor Jack Scoville and Georgetown City Council have proclaimed March 1, 2014 “Rebecca Izard Day” and march 3, 2014 “Ada Thompson Day.”

These two local women are celebrating their 100 year birthdays.

Georgetown resident Mercedes Munnerlyn led the effort to obtain biographical information for these two ladies.

Ada Thompson

Ada Doctor Thompson was born to David and Annie Golden “Mittie” Doctor on March 3, 1914 in Pawleys Island.

Her childhood years along the beach were enjoyable, but she missed greatly her sister who left the area to find better job opportunities.

Feeling a mutual attachment, Ada accepted an invitation from her sister, Elizabeth Pyatt, to come to New York City and live with her.

And so in 1933, accompanied by her Aunt Lillie, Ada left the lower eastern coast.

It was Ada’s desire to achieve greatness and her sister was determined to see that she was educated.

Elizabeth enrolled her in school and upon completing her requirements Ada later attended and successfully graduated from Nursing School.

She worked diligently and her life is exemplified by an excerpt of the “Hippocratic Oath” composed in 1893 by Lystra E. Gretter and others in Detroit, Mich. It was called the Florence Nightingale Pledge as a token of esteem for its founder.

“I solemnly pledge myself before God, to pass my life in purity and to practice my profession faithfully. I will do all in my power to maintain and elevate the standard of my profession and with loyalty will I endeavor to aid the physicians in their work, and devote myself to the welfare of those committed to my care.”

For over 30 years Ada accomplished just that at both Lenox Hill and Harlem Hospitals in New York where she served as a Pediatric Nurse. Before retiring she felt the need to aid the elderly and therefore also served as a nurse at the Dewitt Nursing Home in New York.

Ada, along with her trusted friends, Pearl, Florence, and Fannie, regularly attended movies, dances, banquets and also witnessed the performances of many aspiring personalities who became noted celebrities from the stage of the Apollo Theater. As a young career woman, she met and later married Harrington Thompson (deceased) and their union was blessed with a son, Harry; a daughter-in-law, Avis; and a granddaughter, Jenna.

Having been reared in a religious household, Ada joined Mt. Zion Missionary Baptist Church as a youth and followed the principles of its Covenant and affiliated herself with Union Baptist Church in New York where she was an active member of the choir.

Upon returning to Pawleys Island, she reestablished her membership with her family church Mt. Zion.

With her unconditional love for children, Ada continued to open her doors as a caregiver for many of her relative’s children whenever she was called upon. These children filled that need within her to be of service. Although she finds herself a little less active her mind is still keen and her memory remarkable.

She has many supportive family members and friends who attentively provide quality care for her daily.

So, in loving tribute, we salute Ada Doctor Thompson for her purity, faith, confidence, loyalty, and devotion. We thank her for giving of herself through her career as a nurse and loving friend to all who walked in her pathway as a patient, as a friend or as a family member during her century of living.

Happy 100th birthday with God’s blessings!

— By Mercedes Munnerlyn

Rebecca Izard

Rebecca Gardner Izard was born March 1, 1914, in Georgetown to Cuffie Gardner and Donella Brown, both of whom are deceased.

Rebecca is a native Georgetonian; in fact, the home in which she presently resides on Merriman Road is less than two blocks from where she was born and reared. When Rebecca’s mother relocated to Tampa, Fla. with her employer, her maternal grandmother, Lizzie Brown Williams and her uncle, Jake Brown, continued to rear the young girl.

Rebecca, affectionately known as “Mena” or “Mof” attended the public schools in Georgetown County until the 10th grade.

She left high school to marry the love of her life, Howard Buster Izard. 

Their union was blessed with six lovely children, Howard B. Izard Jr. (deceased), Donella I. Burton (deceased), Henry Howard (deceased), Marilyn I. Sumpter, Eva I. Glover and Woodrow Aurelius Izard (deceased).

Rebecca and Howard were determined to provide for and support their children always. 

They lived and instilled in their children the need for superior work ethics and outstanding morals. 

They always encouraged them to do their best and to live life with integrity and Godly principles.

Rebecca enrolled in a course at Georgetown County Health Department to become a certified midwife. She knew that the principles she and Howard instilled in their children would be the key to aid in supporting and providing for the family. 

She buckled down and went to work. 

As a young mother, she traveled throughout the state of South Carolina to various towns and cities, including Sumter (Morris College), Beaufort and Frogmore in pursuit of a better life for her family. 

After much time and sacrifice, Rebecca earned her certification as a midwife. Then, because of her deeply rooted love for children, she became a professional early child care provider.

Over the past 54 years, Rebecca has represented and supported her family by attending graduation ceremonies at institutions of higher learning throughout this nation. 

They included Tuskegee University where she heard the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. deliver the graduation speech.

In 1965, Rebecca and Howard welcomed three grandchildren.  They made it their primary goal to instill in them the same values and fundamental principles they had given to their children. 

Rebecca joined Arnett African Methodist Episcopal Church at an early age and has always been dedicated and hard working.

She presently serves as the president of the Rutledge-Graham Stewardess Board. 

As an example to her grandchildren and after more than a half century, Rebecca returned to school and earned her diploma from Howard High School in 1983. 

Her three oldest grandchildren graduated that same year.

At 100, she is still feisty, mentally alert and threatens to “spit in your face” if you ruffle her feathers. To God be the glory!

— By Marilyn Izard Sumpter


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