blue ridge mountains with sunlight and haze

The DeBusk Family

October 25, 2021
Virginia DeBusk and two of her daughters, Carolyn and Mary
Virginia DeBusk and two of her daughters, Carolyn and Mary

How does it feel to celebrate a 100th birthday? Well, according to Virginia DeBusk, “it feels just like all the other birthdays before.”

Virginia DeBusk and her family

Her eight children and 15 grandchildren saw this milestone event a bit differently. One hundred years makes for a lot of memories! To celebrate, they all gathered in her front lawn this past Labor Day weekend for a mini reunion of sorts.

Priscilla, the one daughter who couldn’t make it, had an admirable reason. “She is the only obstetrician at her hospital in Pakistan,” Virginia said proudly. Still, Priscilla managed to surprise her mom with a large birthday banner, made in Pakistan, that is now prominently displayed in the living room. Her mom is still talking about this special gift.

Happy 100th Birthday, Virginia

Virginia is an engaging, articulate, well-read woman. The tall pile of books beside her chair have all been read and re-read. Many of her favorites are political in nature and she does have a firm opinion!

“I didn’t pay attention to politics when I was younger,” she commented, “but you better pay attention now!” She recently found some of her kids’ “Hardy Boys” books in her basement and she couldn’t put them down. She read all 30 of them.

At 100 years of age, Virginia is sharp! She has keen insight into modern events as well as solid recall of history. In her earlier years, she was a RN at Johnston-Willis Hospital in Richmond and then at the College of William & Mary’s infirmary in Williamsburg. She remembered working one summer at a Boy Scout camp in Hickory, NC that was turned into a temporary hospital to house polio patients. COVID-19 is not her first pandemic.

“There were 200 patients at that make-shift hospital,” she recalled. “We used the Sister Kenny treatment method to care for them. We rotated warm compresses every few hours to keep their muscles from becoming stiff.”

What she most liked about being a RN was quite simple. “I just liked being able to help people,” she said.

Virginia DeBusk with Sarah, her Good Sam RN

Virginia has lived a lot of life between then and now and her spirit remains kind. She starts each day with a piece of homemade cornbread. “No sugar,” she quickly stated. “It’s not good for you!” When Sarah, her Good Sam RN, visits she always asks ‘what did you have for breakfast?’ Virginia grins and says, “She thinks I’m going to tell her something different.”

With the support of her children, Virginia remains active, renting a place next door to her house and growing a vibrant vegetable garden covering two lots.

“The Lord has really blessed me,” Virginia said.

And what are her words of wisdom having obtained the 100-year mark? They were quite simple and direct: “Eat your vegetables!”