Updated: Jun 1
Story by Ethan Pickering
MTSU Seigenthaler News Service
At the age of 90, Daisy Chase knows a meaningful life is an active life and she has managed to stay active in every phase of her life from her teenage years all the way to her senior days. It is no coincidence. While genetics may be on her side, she’s worked hard to beat the age game.
Daisy, who will turn 91 in December, is a regular at Mass Appeal Family Fitness on Highway 127. Everyone there knows her and many make a point to say hello.
“I’ve been coming (to the gym) since I was about 50 and now, I am 90,” Daisy explained, “I love this place – I love to work out with younger people and now I am the oldest one in the class.”
Daisy goes to the gym three times a week, loves to cook and works in the yard. Her weightlifting comes in handy prearing her for moving heavy bags of mulch to her flower beds. She even works out with makeup on.
She lifts weights, does yoga and uses the elliptical, a low-impact leg exercise machine, each time she visits the gym. She can easily lift 45 pounds and is very flexible. After floor exercises she rises to a standing position with no assistance.
Growing up on a farm near Fayetteville, North Carolina, Daisy was in the fields as a girl, picking cotton and helping to harvest tobacco. At 28 she married her husband, Jerry, who became an electrical engineer working for the Air Force and, eventually, NASA. He worked on projects involved with the space shuttle program, among others. It was Jerry’s career that brought them to Winchester.
Before the good-paying jobs, however, Jerry had to finish college.
“I was a cashier at a grocery store, and I put my husband through college,” Daisy recalled of their hardships as newlyweds. They were married 55 years until Jerry passed away from pancreatic cancer in 2015. His death was expected but still hard to deal with for Daisy. Although it was tough to remain committed to a fitness routine, Daisy was glad to have the gym, a place that provided community and support as the grieved.
“I am glad I can come here and be around people. It is really good for me at this time in my life,” Daisy said. “It is a good place to come be with friends and push to go forward.”
Lynn Hancock is one of those friends. She met Daisy at Mass Appeal several years ago and they have been gym buddies ever since.
Hancock, a retired physical therapist, is amazed by Daisy’s physical ability. “She is really a huge inspiration to me; it is unusual to see someone her age that is so physically active. I used to have patients that were 70 years old and couldn’t do half of the stuff that she does.”
“Everybody loves Daisy,” said the owner of Mass Appeal gym, Brittany Brown. “We threw a huge party for her when she turned 90 and everyone here thinks it’s amazing that she’s still at it.”
“I do really hard work, but at the end of the day I feel like I have accomplished something and made my yard look pretty,” Daisy said with a smile.
“You’ve got something to brag about when you work out,” said Daisy offering a sweet laugh. “People see me and think: if she can do it, I can do it.”
Ethan Pickering is one of nine Middle Tennessee State University journalism students who recently spent two and a half weeks in Franklin County writing stories for the Herald Chronicle. More of their work can be found at www.theroadtripclass.com.