Claude Ogle’s 103rd birthday party was more than just a party.
It was a celebration to recognize and honor the man who does the same and more to all those around him every day.
Ogle, a resident at Life Care Center of Cleveland, Tennessee, is a man full of wit and wisdom. He refers to himself as Mr. Life Care, and rightfully so. He was featured as the cover story for Life Care Centers of America’s 2016 LEADER Magazine, which highlights life stories of residents in facilities across the country. He fills the halls of the Cleveland facility with joy and song.
On Feb. 22, 2018, Cathy Howe, executive director of Life Care Center of Cleveland, welcomed all the guests to the party, which took place at Life Care’s corporate offices. Following that, Edwin Lipsey, pastor at South Cleveland Church of God, prayed over Ogle, the guests and the food.
The food was served buffet-style and consisted of Ogle’s favorites: Hardee’s biscuits with gravy or grape jelly, fried chicken, green beans, mashed potatoes with gravy, a fruit assortment and cupcakes.
Next up, Beecher Hunter, Life Care president, introduced a video presentation of pictures, clips and memories of Ogle from over the years. One special video featured a recording of Ogle singing his original song, “Christmas Long Ago,” accompanied by music Life Care’s media team wrote just for him.
Two special guests attended the party to bring gifts to Ogle. The first was Cleveland Mayor Tom Rowland. He presented Ogle with a key to the city. He joked that the key also unlocked the front door to a Hardee’s location in Cleveland and instructed Ogle to go on a scavenger hunt to discover which one. The second guest, Bradley County Sheriff Eric Watson, “promoted” Ogle from deputy to captain. He even presented Ogle with a gold captain’s badge and embroidered jacket to make it official.
When asked his favorite thing about the party, Ogle replied, “All the music, the Voices of Lee and Danny Murray.” The a cappella vocal group from local Lee University gathered around Ogle to sing a medley of songs. One in particular featured a spoken piece, written and performed by Ogle himself.
Ogle also got to enjoy one of his favorite types of cake at his party: caramelized carrot. The tiered cake towered over the rest of the food buffet and was a beautiful addition to the decor.
“It was our pleasure to celebrate Mr. Ogle’s 103rd birthday, a true honor that we will cherish,” said Howe. “It is not every day we are blessed to witness someone turning 103, and it was a beautiful event filled with memories, music and love. Life Care Center of Cleveland is proud to care for Mr. Ogle and is looking forward to 104!”
“I don’t have words to explain,” said Ogle. “It beat all I had ever seen in my life.”