Longtime teacher dies just short of 110th birthday

Josephine Malone smiles at her 108th birthday party in 2018. Malone, a longtime Paducah resident and a former teacher, died Wednesday, two days before her 110th birthday.

Josephine Malone died Wednesday, just two days before a milestone birthday, at Stonecreek Health and Rehabilitation in Paducah.

Malone would have turned 110 years old today. She was the second-oldest Paducah resident in recorded history and the eighth-oldest recorded Kentuckian.

“Ms. Malone has been with the staff at Stonecreek Health and Rehab for many years, and was loved by staff, residents and their families,” said Jennifer Rodgers, the market manager at Stonecreek. “We find comfort in knowing how much love she was shown the last few years at our center.

“In her later years at Stonecreek, she loved going outdoors and being social with staff and residents. At 109 years old, she helped wash cars to help (raise money) for the Alzheimer’s Association.”

Lula Pearl Peyton is the longest-lived Paducah resident at 112 years and 36 days old. She died in 1997. Leroy Fox is now the oldest living Paducah resident, at 105 years old, having been born Jan. 6, 1915.

More than the amount of years in Malone’s life, as they say, was the amount of life in her years.

She came to Paducah in 1953 as an English teacher, teaching at Brazelton Junior High School — now Paducah Middle School — from 1953 to 1970 and serving as a homebound students’ teacher from 1970 to 1975.

She began her teaching career at age 19 in a one-room schoolhouse before moving to Paducah.

Malone was active in the Paducah Education Association, serving as its president in the 1970-71 school year. She was also the president of the Paducah Classroom Teachers Association in the 1961-62 school year.

She was a member of the League of Women Voters, the Kentucky Lambda Chapter of the Alpha Delta Kappa sorority, Perennial Gardeners and served as president of the Ladies of the Elks in the 1983-84 term.

Stonecreek had planned a birthday party in her honor for today.

At her 100th birthday party, Malone said the secret to her longevity was eating right and exercise. At her 108th birthday party in 2018, her advice to others was, “Be sincere and keep your nose clean.”

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