Library hosts Lee Haugh’s 101st birthday celebration

Published 7:26 pm Wednesday, August 2, 2023

The Luverne Public Library hosted a birthday celebration on Aug. 1, honoring one of their most long-standing volunteers – 101-year-old Lee Haugh. Friends and loved ones gathered to pay homage to over a century’s worth of wisdom and love that Haugh has spread throughout Crenshaw County over the years of her life. 

Library Director Kathryn Tomlin testified to her admiration for Haugh, fondly recalling the time she has spent at the library.

“She [Haugh] retired from volunteering when she was around 90 years old, but she still liked to come in, so we would let her help us when she wanted to,” Tomlin said. “She knows how to do everything here. She’s really a go-getter and even at 101-years-old she is still sharp as a tack. She really is a remarkable woman.”

Email newsletter signup

One particularly special guest attended the celebration: 101-year-old Frances Smith. Smith was the very first female Sheriff of Crenshaw County, and has been a close friend of Haugh for over 70 years.

Haugh was born and raised in Atlanta where she met her late husband, Fritz Haugh. The couple later relocated to Luverne during their early adulthood, where Haugh found her home-away-from-home at the Luverne Public Library. 

Haugh spent her days volunteering at the library cataloging books, putting away books that had been returned, and much more. 

“I’ve always loved books, ever since my childhood,” Haugh said. “When I was a little girl, my mother would walk me into town and just leave me at the library to read. When I moved here, I started volunteering at the library and I did that for over 21 years.”

Though Haugh no longer volunteers at the library, her love and devotion both for the books and for the people there haven’t faded a bit. Haugh still enjoys coming to visit, and takes the time to keep up her relationships with library staff.

According to library employee Leslie Helms, “She [Haugh] always remembers our birthdays, she never forgets one. She’ll go to the store and pick us up a pie and drive it up to the library for us to have a little birthday party. She also thinks of us at Christmas time and brings us gifts. She really is such a sweet lady.”

When asked how she feels about turning 101 years old, Haugh chuckled as she responded, “It’s really hard to believe. I never imagined I would be this age. I guess it feels about the same as it did when I turned 21, except I could walk a little better then.” 

Haugh said she can’t give any advice on how others should live their lives, but offers this sentiment to younger generations.

“The number of years doesn’t really matter,” Haugh said. “It’s what you do during them.”