Senior Matters: Soddy Daisy Seniors Share Words of Wisdom


SODDY DAISY, Tenn. (WDEF) — Senior Citizens have a lot of life-experiences to look back on.

Some were good, others painful, but we all learn as we grow older.
What little bits of wisdom would they like to pass along to children, grandchildren and anyone who may benefit?

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One of the most active Senior Centers in the area is in Soddy-Daisy. It’s spacious, well supplied, and is the daily home to more than 200 active members.
Their backgrounds are as varied as their jobs were back in the day.
But, if you’ll take time to listen carefully, you’ll find a lot of wisdom in their words.

Our question to them is: what would you like to tell young people and those who are coming behind them?

Walter Van Dusen was a jack of all trades; carpenter, mechanic, you name it. He was raised in a foster home.

“Being in that Godless alcoholic home was devastating. But, the thing of it a foster home, I learned what is the right way to go. And by that, I mean simply and I wish young people to know that…when we give our life to the LOrd, we live for the Lord..we don’t face a lot of the stuff that’s out there today,” said Walter Van Dusen.

Margaret Stackhouse is a member, but she is also the art teacher here at the Soddy Daisy Senior Center.

Margaret Stackhouse, from Ontario Canada said, “What I’ve learned is life is short, never take anything for granted, and your parents, once they’re gone, they’re gone. Don’t forget, you’ve got parents out there and they need to be busy, too. They need to have that mental stimulation.”

“Well, one thing, they need to have more respect for the elderly. I always tried to teach my kids and grand kids.,..that they need to listen a little bit longer and pay attention,” said Frances Sue Ayers, who is still working, at 83.

Ken Williams said, “I would say this. A person here, we don’t swear, the people here have good attitudes, and they do attend the Bible classes. Senior Citizens, they get help from the good lord. That’s the best thing.”

“Well, I’ve learned . . . I’m 72 years old, been retired for 5 years, if you be good to people your entire life, every opportunity you receive, it will make you live a lot longer and a lot happier,” said Jerry Knight, retired truck driver.

Leon Shattuck, brother of former Criminal Court Judge Clarence Shattuck, is a pretty good poker player. He goes to Las Vegas where he plays in the World Series of Poker.

“God don’t give everybody the same in mental ability. But you only have to deal what you’ve got. Life is short. I’m 78 year old, and its gone by mighty fast, very quickly. But I’ve enjoyed it,” said Leon Shattuck, a retired barber.

Wisdom from your elders.

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Ashley is a lifetime Chattanooga area resident, and a 1987 graduate from UTC, with a BA in communications. While there, he was commissioned through the ROTC program, served simultaneously in the 1/181st field artillery Tn. Army National Guard, finished Airborne school, was a member of the Scabbard and Blade military honor society and ROTC Rangers, the Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity, played snare drum with the UTC Marching band, and played in a southern rock band called Southern Atmosphere, while working a full time job as a trainer at the Sports Barn. He also won the Southeastern United States teenage bodybuilding competition during this time. Ashley has been with News 12 Now for 21 years. Prior to working here he was a videographer, director, producer and editor at Falcon Cable TV in Dalton, Ga. for 6 years where he produced thousands of commercials and dozens of hour long features. He also worked as a freelancer and employee at another network affiliate in Chattanooga. He has operated a part time video production business from home for 25 years. He says his passion is telling stories that feature people who give of themselves to help others, and stories that inspire people to make positive changes in themselves and their communities. Ashley is ecstatically married to Debbie Henderson, and has two step sons, a daughter in law, a sister, and lots of aunts, uncles, nieces and nephews, and great nieces and nephews. His parents are celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. Ashley and Debbie are active members of Brainerd Baptist Church. His interests include weight training and cycling with his wife, photography, poetry, playing drums, and checking off items from his extensive honey-do list. If you would like to reach Ashley, email him at