Centennial celebration: Quisenberry celebrates 100th birthday

There wasn’t enough room for 100 candles on Alice Quisenberry’s birthday cake, but that didn’t stop the party.

Quisenberry celebrated her 100th birthday with friends and family Friday at Fountain Circle Care & Rehabilitation Center.

“You don’t see many people with 100 on their birthday cake,” JoEllen Reed, a relative to Quisenberry, said.

Quisenberry was born on Feb. 16, 1919, in Estill County. After the loss of her father, her mother remarried to George Sherman Osborne, and Quisenberry moved to Trapp.

She attended Trapp Elementary School, graduated from Trapp High School and after graduation went to Fugazzi Business College in Lexington.

Quisenberry married on Christmas Day 1939 to Crouse Quisenberry, a farmer on Red River Road in Trapp.

Betty Smallwood, a friend of Quisenberry’s, said in a Facebook post she remembers Crouse was quiet but would take time on visits to show the local children the farm and let them watch him milk the cows.

Lorah Palmer, Quisenberry’s great-niece, said her earliest memories involve Quisenberry and having the whole family on the farm. For the past couple of years, Palmer has been meeting with Quisenberry regularly for breakfast.

“I know she’s pleased a lot of people in this town,” Palmer said. “She’s just a great person.”

Erika O’Brien, Quisenberry’s great-great niece, said she remembers Quisenberry’s famous lemonade recipe.

“Aunt Alice was known for the best lemonade,” O’Brien said.

Becky Shepherd said Quisenberry was also known for her fried apple recipe. She said she recalls some of her best memories being out on Quisenberry’s farm.

“I remember one summer we went out there and helped her paint the white fence, and oh my goodness, best time ever,” Shepherd said. “She was a great aunt; she is my great aunt. She loved us deeply and dearly and always cooked for us and made the best-fried apples ever.

In 1943, Quisenberry went to help a friend, Liza Fisher, in the cafeteria at Trapp School for two days, and she “forgot to leave” until 45 years later upon her retirement in 1988 as manager of the cafeteria.

On her retirement, Trapp School honored Quisenberry with a dedication service, naming the cafeteria the Alice Quisenberry Cafeteria and unveiling her portrait. It remained so until the school burned down, Reed said.

“She has been a treasure to our family, and a treasure to especially the Trapp family and the school,” Reed said. “I’ll never forget when the school burned, she was heartbroken but the cafeteria being named after her I think was probably one of the most special times in her many many years with the Clark County schools.”

Quisenberry never had children of her own but had mothered hundreds during her work at Trapp School, Smallwood said. Quisenberry became a widow after 36 years of marriage, and after retirement, she worked at the Clark County Jail for a couple of years and decided her cooking days were over.

However, Quisenberry wanted to keep working in some way, so she joined Clark Regional Medical Center Volunteer Auxiliary for 15 years during which she worked the gift shop and served as auxiliary historian. She prepared scrapbooks containing pictures, articles and reports of auxiliary activities throughout the years.

Quisenberry was also a Sunday school teacher and Sunday school Superintendent at Dunaway United Methodist Church, where she had been a member since 8-years-old.

“What a journey Aunt Alice has experienced, and her desire was to reach 100 years which God has allowed her,” Smallwood wrote. “She can still carry on a conversation with some glitches on good days, but we all experience good and bad days. She is blessed, and so are we.”

For gifts, Quisenberry received bags upon bags of candy, several pairs of socks, magazines and more. Quisenberry smiled the entire party even despite her tiredness and thanked her friends and family for coming. And when it comes to life, Quisenberry said people never think they’re going to make it, but they get through it.

“Aunt Alice has been a blessing to her family and to this community for years and years and continues to want to know people and wants to be engaged at 100,” Reed said.