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Mary “Duck” Nunley Celebrates 100 Birthday

Posted on Tuesday, May 6, 2014 at 8:10 pm

Duck Nunley

Everyone has a story, but Mary Magdalene “Duck” Johnson Nunley has many funny and educational ones that she has passed down to her family through the years from before the Great Depression to today.

“Duck” as she is know, was born April 22, 1914 on Shadrick Hill to Beulah Carrick and Morgan Johnson. Her grandparents were John and Sally Theresa Lockhart Carrick and Wesley and Mary Meeks Johnson.

She was named Mary, a pretty name, but people pronounced it Maury and she did not like that. As she began to walk as a baby, it was a little difficult because she had flat feet. Her daddy, Morgan, called her Duck and she was well pleased with that name. So everyone that knows her calls her Duck.

There have been many changes over her 100 years. Children used to walk to school because there were no school buses and attended a one-room classroom with one teacher educating many grades. Land in the 1930’s could be purchased for $1 an acre, but back then even $1 was hard to come by.  

Duck is a fascinating woman who makes you laugh and makes you feel the happiness and contentment that she feels. She is well pleased with her life and says she wouldn’t change anything, giving all the praise and glory to God for all her blessings.

Her family is always there for her, eager to learn from her life experiences and add to their wonderful memories they have of her.

Duck grew up in and around Orange Hill and Brown’s Hollow and has lived at Flat Branch for many years. She and James Hobert Nunley (Jim Mutt), who she always called Hob, married and had 15 wonderful children, all well educated with many skills with great determination and management. Jim Mutt was always kind, patient and laid back.

Duck always believed in living right and never giving up as she has overcome many trials and tribulations and has always put her trust in God. Her family also knows how to survive during tough economic times through the teachings that have been passed down, such as milking a cow and learning how to churn, to gather the butter and buttermilk. The children and grandchildren say Duck is a good example to give encouragement because if Duck can do these things at her age then they can, too. Last year at the age of 99, she was still showing relatives how to make pear preserves.

Duck enjoys the simple things in life and doesn’t place a lot of value on material things. She likes to show her love and appreciation to her forefathers, cousins, etc. She still wears a bonnet and apron and her favorite meal is breakfast. She always enjoyed taking her children shopping and when they would go to the store on Thursdays, they would enjoy hamburgers and treats afterward.

The family held a great celebration for Duck’s 100th birthday and a large number of birthday cards and calls were received during the entire month of her birthday. The children had fun exchanging their favorite memories and Duck still remembers all of her favorite memories.

Congratulations “Duck” on celebrating your 100th birthday. Your grandchildren want you to know that you are the “greatest grandmother in the world!”