Booker Gillespie is not your average 90-year old. Some even say that he runs rings around those younger than him, some even half his age. At his recent 90th birthday celebration, he received an Award Proclamation from Tennessee state Rep. Brenda Gilmore. Family and friends from across the country packed the St. Joseph Center in Nashville for the grand event.
His numerous activities and commitments include: singing in the choir every 2nd Sunday; membership in the Brothers Keeper Ministry, which meets every Wednesday at Gordon United Methodist Church; and being the oldest member of the church; and being in attendance longer than any other member standing. Charles White, Jr., senior pastor, and the congregation look forward to seeing him every Sunday.
Gillespie likes to play pool; walks a mile a day, five days a week at the Hartman Park Center; and has walked in Rep. Brenda Gilmore’s 5 Mile Bordeaux Walk over the years. There is no sitting still for Booker Gillespie. He keeps busy and active in many ways. This includes enjoying sports, air travel, time with family and friends and going on cruises. He says that the “secret to living long is eating a bowl of oatmeal a day and exercising.”
He worked for Nabisco Cookie & Products Company for 50 years, and had a lawn care service for over 40 years and counting. He met his late wife Bulah Petway when he was in the U.S. Army. They were married 45 years until she passed away in 1999. She had nine children: Edward, Joan, Dorothy, Eloise, Merita, Johnny, William, Freddie and Raymond. Upon their union together they had four children: Gail, Helen, Agnes and Bulah. He is currently married to Carolyn Gillespie and they’ve been married over 12 years.
Gillespie reads the Bible nightly. Over the years, he faithfully fed his children Captain D’s food on Friday’s, but now it’s pizza for the grandkids. There are 60 grandkids, 25 great grandchildren and 17 great-great grandchildren.
The well-planned program consisted of the opening prayer, the welcome, the Proclamation presentation and reflections. The food, dinner being served, musical selections, the birthday cake cutting were all blessings. There were also father daughter dances, a circle of prayer and closing remarks.
His fellow Brothers Keepers brothers said: “Booker is the most dedicated person on the ministry organization. From Thanksgiving baskets to Christmas boxes, we don’t know what we’d do without him. After the dust settles from this event, plans may be underway for his 91st birthday celebration.”