Life starts at 40: Shirley McCartney’s secret to staying young at 80

Shirley McCartney, of Perry Township, was a registered nurse for many of her 80 years. Two of the four children she had with her late husband, Richard McCartney, are in the nursing field. “We’ve got medicine covered.”

Shirley McCartney, of Perry Township, was a registered nurse for many of her 80 years. Two of the four children she had with her late husband, Richard McCartney, are in the nursing field. “We’ve got medicine covered.”

Q: Is staying active important to you?

A: I keep busy. I go to church and I have many friends there. I also belong to one of the small groups at the church, and we meet once a week. I also get out with a lady friend for lunch three times a week. I still drive. It’s not one of my favorite things to do, but it gets me around. I even went and bought myself a little convertible.

Q: Is all of this part of what makes you happy?

A: I’m happy as a Christian. God has been a very big part of my life for over 50 years.

Q: You and your husband were married for how many years?

A: We were together 48 1/2 years, and he’s been gone for 11 years. We shared a love. We never fought. He wouldn’t have gotten into a fight even if I’d wanted to. We mostly had the same ideas about a lot of things. He was a Christian man. He did a lot of work for the church. I did things for the church, too. I did coffee and cookies. The little ones always called me the “Cookie Lady.”

Q: What has life been like without your husband?

A: I never thought I would live this long. I always told my husband that I was going first and leave him with the mess. Then he passed away, and there really wasn’t any mess. I have four children, and they sort of watch out for me. I live with my son and I have three daughters.

Q: What do you do with your time for enjoyment?

A: I read a lot at night on my Kindle. I have a computer, so I pay my bills online. And I play games on my iPad. My son helps me with the technology. I’m still pretty computer-illiterate. I just saw them (family members) sitting and playing on all these things and thought, “I could do that!”