McAlester News-Capital, McAlester, OK

Local News

November 2, 2013

Local woman turns 100 Sunday

McALESTER — Lorene Browder Barlow reached her own personal milestone this weekend, turning 100 years old Sunday.

Born Nov. 3, 1913, in Indianola, she has lived most of her life in Indianola or McAlester, except for approximately four years she spent in California.

While family and friends held a special celebration in her honor at the community center in Crowder on Saturday, Barlow spoke with the News-Capital prior to her big event.

How does she feel about hitting the century mark? Hey, she’s anxious to get started on the next one.

“I’m ready to turn 100 and start anew,” Barlow said.

When she was a little girl, did she ever think about living to be 100?

“Oh no,” she said. “I used to think 50 was old.”

Barlow is still relatively independent, living at the home she and her daughter, Marie Barlow, share in Indianola, the place she’s always considered as home.

When growing up in Indianola, Barlow preferred to work outside in the fields with her father, instead of inside the home with her mother.

“I think that’s the reason I still don’t know how to cook,” she joked.

Outside, she felt ready to tackle any task that would help her dad.

“I picked cotton and pulled peanuts — and anything else to do with the fields,” Barlow said. When the cotton sacks got too heavy for her to pull along beside her, “I had to empty them and start all over,” she said.

Asked about the most impressive inventions she’s seen on her lifetime, Barlow mentioned something most people take for granted these days — but something that many rural homes were without when she was a child.

“Electricity was one thing,” she said.

Her favorite outdoor activities when growing up included horseback riding.

“I was more or less a tomboy,” she said with a chuckle. “I didn’t like housework.

“I would go outside, catch a horse and get throwed.” That didn’t stop her from climbing right back on, though.

By the time she turned 19, she’d lost any tomboy looks she might have had as a youngster and she attracted the eye of W.A. “Nub” Barlow.

Following a courtship largely conducted on horseback, the couple was married on Nov. 22, 1932.

The couple achieved quite a reputation as outstanding dancers when friends would gather together to play music, according to the family.

During the big band era, they became proficient at the well-known swing dance, the Jitterbug.

While Lorene Barlow liked the big band music, she also tuned their radio in to the Grand Ole Opry to hear one of her favorites, bluegrass legend Bill Monroe.

While she and her husband spent most of their lives in Indianola, they did live in California for four  years while “Nub” Barlow helped manage an orchard and vineyard. However, the allure of the Sooner State proved too strong and they ultimately made the move back to Oklahoma.

When “Nub” Barlow died in 1982, it was approximately six months short of the couple’s 50th wedding anniversary.

Lorene Barlow obviously has seen a lot of history in her life. Who did she consider her favorite U.S. president?

She gave the question some thought, before settling on an answer.

“I think John F. Kennedy was good,” she said.

She’s not been deeply into politics, though. She cast her very first vote in a presidential election in 2012, at the age of 99, according to her daughter.

Asked to recall something about her childhood, Barlow remembered a bit of clothing she didn’t like.

“My mother made us wear long underwear to school,” she said, recalling the black, woolen garments her mother favored.

“The other girls didn’t have them on,” she recalled.

Barlow solved the problem in a time-honored fashion of youngsters everywhere. She simply wore the garments to school; changed out of them once she arrived, then put them back on before starting home.

For her 100th birthday celebration, the family expected — fittingly — approximately 100 guests, with some of the out-of-town guests traveling to the area from as far away as Georgia, Louisiana, Arkansas and Texas.

Lorene and “Nub” Barlow’s three children hosted the event, with Marie Barlow getting an assist from her brother, Bill Barlow and his wife, Betty, and from her sister, Myrna Barlow Scott, and her husband, Richard.

In addition to her three children, Lorene Barlow has six grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren and nine great-great-grandchildren.

Why did she and her husband decide to move back to Oklahoma, returning to Indianola after spending a few years in California?

Barlow had a quick answer, direct and to the point.

“It’s home,” she said.

Does she have any idea why she’s lived to be 100?

“The Lord just loved me and smiled on me,” she said.

“I wake up and ask the Lord to bless me one day at a time — and I look forward to the next day.”

Contact James Beaty at

Text Only | Photo Reprints
Local News
  • Demo Bringing Down the House

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fresh Paint Fresh Paint

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • 8-31-CRAZY-DAYS.jpg Crazy Days sales, tax free weekend set

    Oklahoma’s sales tax-free weekend began at one minute after midnight Friday, with Crazy Days in downtown McAlester set to kick-off at 7 a.m. Saturday.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • Speed bump need for speed bump

    City of Krebs Street Supervisor, Kevin Mick, along with his crew and Krebs Mayor Bobby Watkins, put the finishing touch on the new speed bumps they installed at Krebs Public School that were paid and provided by the city of Krebs for the safety of the students and teachers.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • FLOODED.jpg Heavy rains knocks out sheriff's phones, flood emergency management offices

    Regular phone lines for the Pittsburg County Sheriff’s Office and the Office of Emergency Management were knocked out in the early morning hours Thursday, while about 18 inches of water flooded the OEM office under the Pittsburg County Justice Center.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • coins Indian Territory Coin Club will meet Aug. 11

    The Indian Territory Coin Club will meet Aug. 11 at 6:30 p.m. at Angel's Diner on 69 Bypass South, McAlester. The program will be on ancient coins. Contact Gary at 405-426-9044 for further information.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • commissioners.png Gas company files appeal

    They’ve decided to hire an attorney.
    Pittsburg County commissioners plan to hire a lawyer to represent in an appeal filed in district court on behalf of an oil and gas company protesting the amount of its ad valorem tax assessment.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • backpack Backpack-stuffers prepare for Bash

    Workers and volunteers at Shared Blessings were busy Wednesday getting ready for this weekend’s Back-to-School Bash, preparing to give away backpacks and school supplies for children and teens who will soon start the new school year.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Car gets stuck in flood water, flood water receding

    July 31, 2014

  • 07 30 SOUTH AVE 1.jpg 'Road Closed' means just that

    No road.
    No kidding.
    For months, signs placed along South Avenue and Country Club Road read “Road Closed Ahead” — although the roads were still open.

    Now though, the “Road Closed Ahead” signs on South Avenue, along with those on Country Club Road and Peaceable Road, mean exactly what they say.

    July 30, 2014 1 Photo

Seasonal Content
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction
NDN Video
Under Armour Launches Biggest Women's Campaign with Inspiring Ad NYPD chokehold death of Eric Garner was homicide: medical examiner Christina Aguilera Pulls a Demi Moore! Man with no arms throws first pitch Chapter Two: Composing for a film in retirement Is Justin Bieber Dating a Model? Guardians of the Galaxy (Trailer) 'Sharknado 2:' Hottest Memes Surfing The Net Snoop Dogg Narrating Animal Footage Is Perfect Raw: Obama Gets Hug From Special Olympian Recapping a Blockbuster MLB Trade Deadline Tigers Acquire David Price - @TheBuzzeronFOX Russell Brand Slams Sean Hannity Over Gaza Conflict Segment Woman's Dive Goes Terribly Wrong Brian Williams Reports on Daughter Allison Williams' 'Peter Pan' Casting News Did Jimmy Fallon Look Up Heidi Klum's Dress? What Drama? Miranda Kerr Poses Topless Plane crashes in San Diego Costco parking lot Justin Bieber Takes To Instagram To Diss Orlando Bloom You Won't Believe the Celeb Cameos in "Sharknado 2"

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.