Virginia Pair Witherington puts it simply when asked her secret to living to 105, and not looking near her age to top it off.
"Because I take care of myself," she said among a din of noise as she celebrated her birthday with friends at La Parrilla Mexican Restaurant on Sunday. She turns 105 on Monday.
She worked 30 years as a bookkeeper for the Macon Water Authority, among other places. Her late husband, Joe Witherington was Macon's first engineer, said Mary Ussery, who says Witherington "adopted" her about 12 years ago. They have been close friends ever since.
"Nana gives really good advice," Ussery said. "She lives by her philosophy. She's kind to everyone. She's the most graceful person I've ever met."
Ussery said Witherington has previously credited her long life to living well and eating a lot of chocolate. She also loves Whopper Juniors and pizza.
Witherington drove until she was in her mid-90s, and gave it up voluntarily when she hit her carport coming home one day. She also had open heart surgery when she was 94, and has battled other medical issues.
Witherington lived alone until a few years ago, and she still lives in her home along with Ussery and Ussery's mom. Ussery takes care of both of them.
Witherington and Ussery share a love of cats. Ussery said she became friends with Witherington after she found out Witherington had Ussery's lost cat. But she learned at the time that Witherington had recently lost her husband, as well as her cat of 20 years. Ussery could see she liked the cat and Ussery decided to let her keep it.
"I realized if I took the cat back, that was her lifeline," she said. "The rest of kind of history."