Central resident turns 102

By Nicole Daughhetee
Courier Staff

CENTRAL — Born on January 11, 1911, Joseph Elias celebrated his birthday last Friday with all the pomp and circumstance befitting a man who has lived 102 years.

Drue Yates, longtime resident of Central and friend of Elias, coordinated a birthday celebration to rival that of any celebrity last Friday morning.

“When I was at the Pickens Senior Center, I heard about Joe and worked my way to Central to meet him,” Yates said. “Spending time with him is something I didn’t get to do with my own grandfather, so I am taking advantage of it now.”

The out-pouring of love and celebration of Elias was abundantly clear: Elias arrived at the Central Senior Center in a white stretch limousine, where he was greeted with a surprise Happy Birthday shout from approximately 50 friends, including Senator Larry Martin, County Councilman Trey Whitehurst, Central Mayor Mac Martin and new Pickens County Sheriff Rick Clark.

Although he couldn’t be present, Senator Lindsay Graham also sent his wishes for a Happy Birthday in a letter read to Elias by Senator Martin.

A former minor league baseball pitcher in Brooklyn, N.Y., Elias was gifted the opportunity to throw out an opening ball when the Greenville Drive begins its season sometime in April. He was also presented with two birthday cakes, a musical video montage of his life in photographs, and his friend Yates arranged a lamb chop birthday dinner courtesy of Calhoun Corners — the meal is Elias’ favorite.

To further celebrate and read more about Elias, check back next week, when the Courier will take a closer look at Elias and the amazing history he has experienced this past century.