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Beautician keeps working as she celebrates 101st birthday

Posted at 11:22 AM, Nov 27, 2019

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Callie Terrell was the oldest working beautician in Tennessee on her 100th birthday last year.

Now her 101st birthday is here, and she's wiser, sassier and still a busy bee.

Between an interview, birthday phone calls and whipping up a pineapple pound cake for Thanksgiving, Tuesday was a busy day for the great-grandmother.

"Well, I can’t describe it," she told WREG. "I’m thankful I’m physically able to do some of the things I used to do.”

Those things still include working as a beautician, even though she told WREG last year she was going to retire for her 100th birthday.

"I guess it’s not a lot of 101-year-old people in Memphis still working because they say, 'Still working?' Well, I’m still alive."

So it seems those plans for retirement are on hold for the time being.

"Well if you don’t use it, you lose it and people want me to work on them and they pay me, so why not do it,” she said.

And why should she stop doing what she loves, when it’s likely the reason she’s outlived her siblings and parents.

"I guess my secret is just working and keeping busy because that’s what I’ve done," she said. "I had a very successful business and what I do, I enjoy doing.”

Staying busy is what’s gotten her through life’s heartbreaks and setbacks.

As she reflected Tuesday, her message to younger people is simple.

"Just do the right thing. What I mean is, you may be a church person. You believe in the Bible? Just live it," she said. "Love people. Regardless of who they are. If they don’t love you in return it doesn’t matter.”

Terrell will be featured on Steve Harvey's digital show on his Facebook page. The episode is taping this Friday at Tyler Perry Studios in Atlanta.