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Island woman turns 103
Cecil Woods has seen a lot in more than a century of life.

She's seen the invention of the television, the technological advancement of phones and even seen a man walk on the moon.

Not bad for a woman who learned to drive a Model T Ford at age 12.

Woods turns 103 today, and she's just a surprised as others - but eternally grateful - to have enjoyed such a long and loving life.

"What has surprised me the most in my life?" Woods said Friday at Marsh's Edge, on St. Simons Island, where she has lived for nearly two years. "That I'm here. Let me tell you, I'm lucky to be here."

Woods was born in Eatonton but grew up in Huntsville, Ala. Later on, she moved all around the Southeast, spending 30 years in Miami.

She said there's no comparison between the Florida city and St. Simons Island.

"I love it here (on St. Simons Island) more than Miami," she said.

In Miami, Woods worked in real estate, working with people to find the right property for their needs. Her love of working with people dates back to when she was just a young girl.

"There was an ad in the paper for a department store that wanted help on the weekends, and me and my friend begged and begged our parents to let us work," Woods said.

After each shift on Saturday, the girls would be paid a single silver dollar. Woods said she was so exceptional one Saturday she was given a special prize.

"I remember helping this man find the right shoe laces for his family, and so at the end of the day I received four silver dollars," Woods said. "I remember being so thrilled about that."

Woods' family consists of four children, six grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren. Though she lost her mother young, she said her grandmother and great-grandmother lived to be in their late 90s.

"I must have gotten some of their genes," she said.

Woods' friends say she lights up a room and is always thinking of others.

"She's just so generous and always full of life," said fellow Marsh's Edge resident Virginia Ellis. "Everyone loves to be around her because she's such a wonderful positive person."

Woods says she has no secrets for how to live a long and healthy life.

"You know you have to stay active, but God lets a person live how long they are supposed to live," Woods said. "I haven't done anything special."

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