The sparkle in her eyes and the animation in her voice would have many people surprised to learn that Leslye Mount Puddy had just turned 107 years old. For Leslye Puddy, it is more like she is 107 years young.
Puddy was born in Ruston, La., on Feb. 24, 1904. She graduated from Louisiana Polytechnic Institute in 1925 with a Bachelor of Industry and, in 1929, she received a B.A. in Commerce.
Puddy married her husband, Earl, in 1937. Describing her first glance of her future husband, Leslye said, “He was coming down the street where his brother worked at a candy shop.” The two were married for 52 years.
During their years together Earl and Leslye traveled across the United States and Europe. And it was during a trip to London that she also judged a flower show, something that Leslye often did since flowers are truly one of the loves of her life. And for her, the reason is simple.
“Because they are so pretty,” she explained, beaming. “I got the love for flowers from my grandmother in Selma, Ala.”
Leslye has judged many flower shows. As a Master Garden Show judge, she continued presiding in that capacity until she was 96 years old.
Puddy lives with her son, Dr. Robert Puddy and his wife Lynda, in Peachtree City, having moved to Fayette County in 2008 from Florence, S.C., where she had lived with her sister. And in Peachtree City, too, her love for flowers remains as she keeps a watchful eye over her orchids.
The celebration of her birthday Feb. 24 at her son’s home was not the only one held in her honor. Leslye said employees at her hair salon, again this year, had a birthday party in her honor earlier that day.
At Robert and Lynda’s house later on her birthday Leslye was joined by her grandson Kevin Puddy, his daughter Lauren and a family friend Sydney Blair.
Asked about living a full life for 107 years, Puddy was quick to give the credit to a reality that is far beyond her ability to control.
“My longevity is due to the good Lord,” Puddy said with a smile. “It’s the will of God.”
During World War II Puddy served as secretary to the commander of the German prisoner of war camp near Ruston.
Puddy’s affiliations over the past century are many. She is a member of Eastern Star, a member of the Ruston First Baptist Church for more than 90 years, a member of the Florence Garden Club and, at age 98, she became a member of the South Carolina chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution and is the state’s oldest member.
Also an avid sports fan, Puddy said she is a big fan of Tiger Woods and has forgiven him.
“I love all sports. You bet I believe in Tiger Woods,” Puddy said. “And I love to watch Oprah and Ellen.”
With a day full of Happy Birthday wishes for Leslye Puddy on Feb. 24, the only thing left to do was cut the birthday cake.