Winchester resident to celebrate 104th birthday

Published 2:23 pm Tuesday, January 2, 2024

In the United States, the average life expectancy varies somewhat but is usually associated with the mid-70s.

Either way, Clark County residents will be happy to know that James Hooten has long exceeded expectations.

Hooten, a centenarian and lifelong resident of Winchester, celebrates his 104th birthday on Wednesday, Jan. 5th, 2024.

Email newsletter signup

“He was born and raised here in Clark County,” said daughter Diane Hooten. “He has grandkids, great-grandkids, and great-great grandkids.”

Hooten, one of three children, was born near the current Hall’s on the River restaurant, which is located on Athens Boonesboro Road.

He also lived near the present-day Providence Baptist Church on Old Boonesboro Road.

His family name, with a long-time association with Clark County, is even the namesake of Hootentown Lane.

Despite being unable to read or write, Hooten – a hard worker from an early age – started his professional journey by performing labor on local highways.

Later, he would move to the American Tobacco Company – which was later restructured and sold to American Brands, Inc. – as a laborer before retirement.

To date, he still finds ways to be active.

“He fixes his own breakfast”, Diane Hooten added. “He sweeps his own floors, and he does his cleaning.”

He fathered six children: Diane, Patricia Lyle, Delores Hawkins, James Jr., Charles and Steven.

While his daughters are still alive and continue contributing to the community, Hooten has outlived all three of his sons.

A sports fan, Hooten’s family describes him as actively rooting for the Cincinnati Reds and the University of Kentucky Wildcats.

Born only months after the Reds won their first World Series by defeating the Chicago White Sox in 1919, he has seen the team win their second World Series in 1940 – shortly before U.S. involvement in World War II – and their most recent in 1990.

He has also seen the Kentucky Wildcats men’s basketball team win all four of their championships during the Adolph Rupp era – including one when former GRC boys basketball Coach Guy Strong was an active player – and the most recent in 2012 under current Head Coach John Calipari.

“He’s absolutely crazy about Calipari”, said Diane Hooten. “He loves Kentucky!”

For his birthday, Hooten – who has lived modestly on his own for many years – will look for much of the same.

“He’s not very big on talking [or] really having a birthday celebration,” said Diane Hooten. “I usually just put signs and balloons up for a couple of days for him.”

Yet his most significant impact is found in other ways.

When asked what lessons her father has taught, Diane Hooten responded quickly.

“His love for family and friends”, she said, adding that Mr. Hooten loved the Lord. “[Be] a very caring [individual]…Put values in your life…and be the best that you can be!”