Looking at 100: Local man marks century with crowd of family, friends
by Hilary Butschek
July 20, 2014 04:00 AM | 2098 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Luther Walden sports his 100-year birthday celebration shirt as he chats with friend Connie Strickland on Saturday at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta. Walden hit the century mark July 15. His Saturday celebration at the church included a buffet lunch along with friends and family — a total 150 people.<br>Staff/Hilary Butschek
Luther Walden sports his 100-year birthday celebration shirt as he chats with friend Connie Strickland on Saturday at Mt. Bethel United Methodist Church in Marietta. Walden hit the century mark July 15. His Saturday celebration at the church included a buffet lunch along with friends and family — a total 150 people.
Staff/Hilary Butschek
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A Marietta man who turned 100 this week said he’s ready to make it to 200.

“He’s in good spirits,” Richard Walden said of his father, Luther Walden, whose birthday was July 15.

Nearly 150 friends and family members celebrated Luther Walden becoming a centenarian Saturday at Mount Bethel United Methodist Church.

Luther Walden’s birthday party has been a tradition at the church for the past 10 years.

Family is the most important thing in Luther Walden’s life, he said, so he was glad they could all make it to the party. He has three children, nine grandchildren and 13 great-grandchildren, with a 14th on the way.

“I’ve got a big family, and it’s always growing,” Luther Walden said.

Marty Walden, his son, said he has always admired the way his father lives his life.

“He enjoys the simple things. He loves life,” Marty Walden said.

His three children said their father was always there for them at home when they were growing up.

Their father worked on warships in 1940 during World War II, in Baltimore at Bethlehem Steel. Then, in 1944, the family moved to Atlanta, where he worked at Atlanta Textile Machinery as a supervisor for machine installation. Later, Luther Walden worked at Pool Aid. He retired in 1989.

Luther Walden took care of his wife, Helen, at home when she had Alzheimer’s. Marty Walden said after his mother died at the age of 79 in 1995, his father moved in with his family.

“He loves people and his family so much,” Marty Walden said.

Luther Walden has overcome hardships in his life. He had a heart attack in 1960. Then, in 2001, he suffered a stroke that left the right side of his body paralyzed.

Luther Walden worked to recover, and, to the amazement of his family, he regained mobility and was able to drive until he was 98 years old.

“I think he has great faith,” said Richard Walden, his son. “His great faith has helped him persevere.”

Luther Walden said it’s all thanks to God that he has had such a long life, and he wants to pass on his faith.

“I want (all my family members) to grow up and have a good life,” he said. “I want them to be good Christians and go to church every Sunday.”

He still meets up with friends every week at The Varsity for lunch. Retiree and longtime friend Tony Johnson, of Marietta, said Luther Walden is one of the best people he knows.

“He’s a real fine friend to have,” Johnson said. “I’d highly recommend him if you’re looking for a friend.”

Luther Walden’s great-granddaughter, Caroline Walden, 19, said she enjoys learning from his experience.

“Not many kids my age get to know someone who’s been in the family for so long,” Caroline Walden said. “I’m always so amazed by him. He has such a big heart.”

Almost all the members of the Walden family live in Marietta, and they enjoy getting together frequently.

“I’m so proud of all of them,” Luther Walden said. “I want to teach them to live right and be kind and loving to everyone.”

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