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Jewell Hutson will celebrate her 109th birthday Sunday, Jan. 26.

She will celebrate with friends and family at 1:30 p.m. at Kerens United Methodist Church.

Guests are encouraged to come and join in on the fun to help honor this very special lady.

Jewell Estella Bruner was born in Elm Flats on Jan. 27, 1911, and her family moved to Kerens when she was a girl.

For Jewell, her world began to change following World War I, when her older cousin returned from the war and asked her father to go into the grocery store business with him.

Back then, downtown Kerens was lined with stores on both sides of the street. There were three banks, several drug stores, each with its own doctor’s office in the back, and every kind of shop, even movie theaters.

As the baby in the family, she attended Kerens schools, and she clearly recalls the Hughes-McKie oil rig disaster of 1923, which killed 15 men.

“The Powell fire was terrible,” she said. “I was in grade school and we looked out our window and saw all the black smoke. Before the day was over, someone came and got one of the boys, Coy Phillips, because his daddy had been killed. That fire was a blow to all of Navarro County.”

Hutson attended North Texas State Teachers College, now known as the University of North Texas. She finished college in three years by going year-round and graduated in 1932.

She met her husband, Denton Hutson in college and the two were married in 1936. They attended the Texas State Fair celebrating Texas’ 100th birthday. Franklin Roosevelt was in the parade, and Denton got up close enough to take Roosevelt’s photo as the president rode by in an open car.

Denton Hutson, a coach and history teacher, died in 1965. In about 1971, Jewell moved home to Kerens to take over the second grade at Kerens Elementary. She taught eight more years, retiring in 1979. In all, she taught nearly half a century, 45 years of which were in Texas.

Even in retirement, Hutson stayed busy. She took up china-painting, delivered Meals on Wheels, tended to countless friends and family members in their homes and in the Kerens nursing home, and has been active in the Kerens First United Methodist Church.

She looked after her mother, who died at the age of 99 in 1981.

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