No longer can she see and can only hear from her left ear; barely. That did not stop Odette Simar from belting out her favorite song, “A Good Man is Hard to Find” on Sunday.

Over 50 friends, family and residents attended the celebration of Simar’s 100th birthday, at the Meadows Nursing and Rehabilitation.

Odette was born March 31, 1910, in New Iberia, La. Her family moved to Orange when she was 3 and she’s been here since.

She married Maurice Simar at the age of 18. They had one child, Marvin, in December, 1930. Marvin and his wife, Jean, presented her with three grandchildren, Paul, Gina and James Simar. Of those three, the only one that has children is Paul, who has given his grandmother two beautiful great-granddaughters, Jessica and Jennifer Simar.

Gina said her grandmother attributes her long life to “good clean living and hard work.”

A homemaker, Odette filled the rest of her time with volunteer work and transporting grandkids to dance classes and football.

Long trips o Galveston were made transporting patients to appointments when she worked for the American Red Cross. She also taught swimming and took nuns back and forth to Lake Charles, La., for confession when they didn’t want to confess to their local parish priest.

The Rev. Joseph Daleo of St. Mary Catholic Church was present Sunday to bestow a special blessing on the centenarian.

Gina told Odette, “Father’s praying for you,” then continued, “This is going to be a loaded response. I never know what is going to come out of her mouth.” Odette surprised her and said nothing. In fact, other than singing her song she didn’t say much; only giving very short answers when she spoke.

At previous birthdays, Odette had always said, “If I get to 100 we’re going to have champagne and fireworks.” The family planned just that for later in the day at a more intimate family celebration. Gina said they were going to use sparklers because they didn’t want to scare nursing home residents with the noise of more elaborate fireworks.

Odette’s birthday is actually today (Wednesday, March 31). Her first grandson, Paul, was born the day after on April Fool’s Day.

Jean said Odette used to say, “My grandson was going to be born on my birthday, but he missed.”

About Penny LeLeux

Penny has worked at The Record Newspapers since 2006. A member of the editorial staff, she has "done everything but print it." Most frequently she writes entertainment reviews and human interest stories, with a little paranormal thrown in from time to time.She has been a lifelong member of the Orangefield community.