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January 17, 2014

VIDEO: 104 percent a Pacer fan

104-year-old Pacer fan honored by NBA team

TERRE HAUTE — A long-time Indiana Pacers fan, Ruby Carter watches their games on television and has her favorite player — Danny Granger.

“I like his attitude,” she said.

Right now, she has only limited cable in her residence and goes to a friend’s apartment to watch games. She couldn’t miss a recent game with the Miami Heat, because, as she told a relative, “They’re a hot team.”

Make no mistake — she wanted her Pacers to win.

Now, Carter — who turned 104 Thursday — might be considered an “unofficial” Pacer herself. The boyfriend of a relative used some connections to get a special surprise for Carter.

He had asked for a team photo autographed by players.

But what Carter received Saturday during a birthday party was far better.

She now is the proud owner of her own Pacers Jersey, with “Carter 104” written on the back. The players autographed the back of her jersey — including No. 33, forward Danny Granger.

The front reads, “Pacers 104.”

“I was totally dumbfounded,” Carter said of her reaction to the jersey, which is almost bigger than she is. “I never dreamed of such a thing.”

She couldn’t believe the Pacers would take the time and trouble to do it for her, said her great niece, Vicki Certain. “She’s a diehard Pacers fan,” Certain said.

The 104-year-old lives independently in a Terre Haute apartment complex, although Sherry Anderson visits her each day to assist with meals and other chores. Carter also receives assistance from the Visiting Nurse Association.

But make no mistake, Carter has a sharp mind and amazing memory. “She’s very bright, vibrant and has a million stories,” Certain said.

Carter was born Jan. 16, 1910 in North Dakota, where her parents went to homestead; she was the youngest of eight children. The family returned to Vigo County in the 1930s.

Carter has never married and teases that might be the secret to her longevity. “The Lord has blessed me abundantly with good health,” she said.

She worked many years as a nurse’s aide at Union Hospital and held many other jobs in her lifetime.

Asked about turning 104 Thursday, she said, “I don’t feel that old at all … I don’t feel any different than if I was 70.”

Sitting in her cozy apartment, the 104-year-old has teddy bear and doll collections. She enjoys reading and socializing — and Pacers games. She’s also enjoyed baseball and talks about possibly attending a Terre Haute Rex game this year, if she is able.

She attends Faith Baptist Church.

Since the big birthday celebration happened Saturday, Thursday was going to be much quieter — lunch at Cackleberries, and at night, the Pacers vs. New York Knicks. She’s already anticipating next year’s birthday celebration.

She plans to take good care of her Carter No. 104 Pacers jersey. “I don’t want it to fade,” she said. Her apartment complex celebrates residents’ birthdays each month, and at the next one, “I’ll wear it,” she said.

Anderson said she enjoys being around the centenarian-plus four. “She is a good, Godly woman” who tells amazing stories of times gone by. “She lifts you up.”

 

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