La. WWII veteran celebrates 100th birthday

Published: Nov. 23, 2022 at 9:50 PM CST
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Many, LA (KPLC) - Someone who has lived to be 100 years old has seen the world drastically change.

They lived through a major world war and the Great Depression, and they may tell a few stories that start with “back in my day.”

Out in Many, Louisiana, or what some call Toledo Town, is where you might find a war veteran golfing or tending to his garden.

“I might make a soap opera, but I don’t like to watch them,” Jessie Mahaffey said. “News and sports on TV, and that covers my days of piddling around. I go to the big city of Many.”

Before Jessie Alton Mahaffey lived a leisure life near the river, he served his country. His friends and family call him their hero.

Mr. Mahaffey served in World War II and survived the attack on Pearl Harbor.

“Finishing school in 11th grade,” Mahaffey said. “That was a highlight. Joining the Navy. That was a highlight. Had two ships that were sunk. The first one right there at Pearl Harbor, and the second one was in the south pacific, but I made it okay though.”

He has two children with his wife Joyce, whom he shared more than 50 years of marriage with before her passing.

“My best day would be marrying that little gal that just turned 18 years old,” Mahaffey said. “Me, her and her brother went to that church. I guess that was my best day.”

“Went to work for the phone company. Worked for them for 30 years. Retired from them, Southwestern Bell, and come up here and saw this bunch here and said man, I want to live around them,” he said.

After moving back home, he now spends his days with his children and closest friends.

Wednesday, he celebrated his 100th birthday. An age not many get to see, but Mr. Mahaffey said he is thankful he has made it to.

“I never thought I would make it this far, but if I make it a little bit further, that’s fine,” Mahaffey said.