|Rockdale centenarian Buck Brown blessed to share Jesus’ birthday|
|Written by Joshua Smith and Valerie J. Morgan|
Arthur “Buck” Brown has outlived all eight of his siblings. He’s lived longer than both of his parents, and for that matter, he has survived longer than anyone in his family.
On Christmas Day, the Rockdale County centenarian turned 102. He says his trust in the Lord has kept him around for more than a century.
“That’s a long time, ain’t it? My secret to this long life is hard work, prayer and trusting in the Lord,” said Brown, a longtime deacon at Double Springs Baptist Church in Conyers.
As a centenarian, Brown has survived 20 years longer than the average life span. He is part of an aging population that gerontologists have been studying to unlock the mystery of why people live to be 100 or older.
Brown, naturally, has his own theories. After God, he credits orange soda pop as a constant. He says it’s the only kind of soda he has ever liked.
When family and friends celebrated Brown’s birthday four days early—on Friday, Dec. 21—at a banquet held at This Is It Restaurant on Panola Road in Lithonia, Brown drank orange soda. Brown enjoyed a plate of tilapia, sweet potatoes and collard greens.
On Christmas Day, Brown filled up on macaroni and cheese, butter beans, collard greens, cornbread and a slice of 7UP upside down pound cake with orange sherbert. Some of his nieces prepared dinner for him as he welcomed visiting grandchildren, great-grandchildren and other relatives throughout the day.
Brown was born in 1910 in Locust Grove, Georgia to Claude and Lena Brown, who were sharecroppers. The oldest of three boys and six girls, Brown’s birth was recorded in an old family bible on Christmas Day. There were no birth certificates for blacks back then, relatives say.
Brown earned a living as his dad had done—and he kept a positive outlook on life even when times were hard.
“I did daily work for 50 cents, plowed a mule all day, then I’d put him up at night, make a pot of supper, go out to the woods and make liquor all night, Brown said. “From corn and cotton to beans and sweet potatoes, I’ve raised about everything that can be grown on a farm.”
Up until he experienced some kidney problems a few weeks ago, Brown worked at the Conyers Underwood Chicken Farm, feeding chickens, mowing pastures and other chores—work he’s done for more than 70 years.
“When he passed people on the way to work, they would say ‘Oh, there goes Mr. Buck speeding through,’” said granddaughter Melvia Brown-Hunter. “He is one of the hardest workers I know. We all could learn a lot from him about dedication and hard work.”
Brown and his wife had seven children, six of whom are still living today. His fifth child, Grady Brown, is the funeral director for Brown and Young Funeral Home in Lithonia. Grady Brown has three daughters who have careers in medicine: one is a pharmacist, two are physicians. In addition, Brown has 31 grandchildren, more than 30 great-grandchildren and 10 great, great-grandchildren.
Granddaughter Dr. Taiwanna Brown-Bolds, a physician, said Brown has maintained pretty good health throughout his life. He doesn’t take many medications, she said, adding that his daily diet consists mainly of vegetables, cornbread and buttermilk.
“God has blessed and honored my grandfather to live this long with a healthy and sound mind,” said Brown-Bolds. “I hope some of those blessings can rub off on me.”