Stockbridge resident celebrates 100th birthday

By Jason A. Smith
Times Correspondent

For some people, celebrating a milestone birthday might mean opening expensive gifts, or perhaps enjoying dinner at a fancy restaurant.

Ruby Scott Hill is surrounded by (l. to r.) Tyosha Phillips, her children Andre and Sariyah and Cantrice Brinson at her 100th birthday party last Sunday. Photo by Jason A. Smith

However, for Ruby Hill Scott of Stockbridge, celebrating her 100th birthday with her loved ones leads her to react a little differently.

“I thought it was longer than that,” she says. “I’ve been expecting them to bring me something good to eat, but it don’t seem like I’m gonna get it.”

Scott reached the century mark on her calendar Sept. 6. She says she appreciates being able to celebrate the occasion surrounded by numerous members of her large family – including some of her 40 great-great-grand-children.

Scott was born in 1915, in Brooks County, Ga., to Horace Hill and Sally Gay, as the youngest of 11 children. In 1949, she moved to Florida, where she attended Miami-Dade Commu-nity College and later worked as a mental-health technician.

She was married for 20 years to Burley Edwards, until his passing in 1979. She returned to Georgia after her retirement. While living in Savannah, she was married to Alfred Scott for 10 years until he too passed away.

In addition to both of her husbands and all of her siblings, Ruby Hill Scott has outlived two daughters, eight of her 10 grandchildren, and one great-grandchild.

Scott now lives with her great-great-granddaughter, Cantrice Brinson of Stockbridge. Brinson notes that Scott, along with raising two children of her own, also adopted two children from a mental-health facility in Florida.

“Her love of people, especially children, is evident as she was considered the neighborhood mother,” says Brinson. “It is easy to say that everybody who meets her, loves her! Happy 100th birthday to a woman whose fiery personality keeps her going and whose remarkable legacy will ensure that she lives on for generations to come.”

Brinson describes Scott as a “renaissance woman” who, in her younger years, enjoyed crocheting, fishing and making clothes for herself and her family. Brinson says her great-great-grandmother is a pillar of the community and her church, and voices high praise for the influence Scott has had on her life and the lives of others.

“If it weren’t for her, I wouldn’t be here,” says Brinson. “She is who I am.”

Ruby Hill Scott has been a patient at Providence Hospice in Stockbridge since May of 2014, and currently suffers from dementia. The hospice’s Chief Executive Officer, Ian Ash, was among those who visited Scott during her birthday celebration, and says Scott is only the second patient at Providence who has reached the 100-year mark during his time with the company.

Ash credits the support of Scott’s family, as well as the staff of the hospice, with helping her to get there.

“Even though she has a condition that’s continuing to deteriorate, she still has a love for life,” says Ash. “We focus on how they live, not how they’re going to die.”

Scott’s family members who attended her birthday celebration say she is an inspiration to them. Among them is her great-great-niece, Kayla Jackson, who came all the way from Jacksonville, Fla., for the occasion.

As Jackson held Scott’s hand, she spoke briefly about what the birthday girl means to her.

“She’s a blessing,” says Jackson. “She’s a strong lady.”

Scott’s great-great-great-granddaughter, Tyosha Phillips of Stockbridge, agrees. Phillips says Scott has taught her a great deal during her lifetime.

“We could learn a lot from her,” says Phillips.

One touching moment during the celebration came when Phillips brought her children – two-year-old Sariyah and three-week-old Andre -- to have their picture taken with Scott on her birthday. Phillips says she is happy that, in doing so, she is able to give her kids something many others don’t get to experience.

As for Scott, she finally did get her hands on the good food her family had promised her before the birthday party began -- a bowl of vanilla bean ice cream.

“It tastes all right,” she says with a smile.