Celebrating 100 years with Fleming Young Jr.
There was apple butter, apple cider, pinto beans, candy corn, homemade country butter, hay rides, face-painting and all sorts of other goodies.
And, oh yes, a big birthday cake.
Saturday was “Old-Fashioned Days” at Ball’s Chapel Church near Ashton in Mason County. And there was a special guest of honor: Fleming Young Jr., who turned 100 on Oct. 27.
Junior, as everyone calls him, received Jesus Christ as his savior in 1950.
That was after he spent a year in the U.S. Army during World War II, protecting his country in Saipan and Guam. He spent only a year in military service because he had three young children at home.
He was not wounded, but he came home in 1945 with a problem.
“I got blood poisoning in my leg,” Junior recalls — his memory is as young as his name. “They gave me 21 penicillin shots aboard ship.”
Once home, he worked in Huntington at Gwinn’s Milling Co. for 20 years and at Martha White Mills for 21 years.
He and his first wife, Helen, became pillars at Ball’s Chapel.
One Sunday morning when the road up the narrow hollow and up a curvy, hairpin-curved climb to the church was flooded, they walked along the hill beside the road to get there, only to find that the congregation had canceled the service.
When a new building replaced the original sanctuary in 1972, Junior helped build it — just as he had replaced his old family home about a mile from the church when he got out of the Army. He also put together a leather-covered altar. The original steeple of the new church now stands on the ground between two flagpoles with a plaque dedicating it to Junior.
Three years after Helen died in 2004, Junior married Lorena Litchfield and moved over on Jerry’s Run Road. But that wasn’t so far away that he had to stop attending Ball’s Chapel. Junior and “Renee” both were there on Saturday — along with two of Junior’s four children.
With bellies and hearts full, people gradually began driving off the hill, but not before they wished Junior many more birthdays.