In the small country town of Branson, Mo., country music fans can catch legendary performers and rising stars.
From the moment Nan Peavler stepped foot in the city, she was fascinated by the entertainment, the glitz and the glamour. The Greenwood resident puts it at the top of her list of cities visited.
Peavler, who celebrated her 100th birthday in February, takes pride in the travel she’s done over her lifetime. She and her husband, Wilburn, would take bus tours from central Indiana all over the country.
But her time in Branson remains her favorite.
“We loved to travel, and we love country music. We probably made five trips to Branson,” she said.
A long-time member of First Baptist Church in Greenwood, Peavler celebrated her 100th birthday with her Sunday school class. The class, nicknamed the “Baptist Builders,” has become part of her extended family.
They had a party with lunch and a cake on Feb. 9.
“They did a good job, and fed everybody,” she said. “I’ve been going to that church for years. I’ve outlived a lot of them.”
When Peavler was born on Feb. 9, 1914, her family lived in Bedford, Ky. Her father died when she was only 6, and when her mother remarried five years later, she and her sister moved to Johnson County.
They lived on Stones Crossing Road, but the small house where they once lived is no longer standing.
“I guess we were so bad, they tore the house down,” Peavler said, joking.
Peavler attended Center Grove schools, graduating in 1932.
She married Wilburn Peavler, and together they had six children. Wilburn Peavler worked for Union Carbide as a machinist, while Nan Peavler found work where she could get it.
Over her life, Peavler worked at a restaurant near Camp Atterbury that made sandwiches for soldiers and military personnel at the base.
“Every time we were ready to go home, we’d hail one of them down and get a ride to the bus station,” she said.
Later, she worked at the Gibson Company and AWD, loading auto parts into boxes to be shipped throughout the country. Once they retired, the Peavlers were active with Greenwood senior citizens center. The center’s planned bus trips helped satisfy their desire to travel.
Peavler remembers the early days of Branson as a tourist destination, when visitors had to pile into one of the two hotels in town.
Now, with dozens of hotels, restaurants, theaters and other attractions, it looks very different from the city she first experienced.
“It built up pretty quick,” she said.
If Branson was her favorite destination, further down on her list is New Orleans during Mardi Gras.
“Everyone was drunk but us. You’ve got to drink if you go to Mardi Gras, and it was terrible,” she said. “One trip was enough.”
Peavler credits regular exercise with keeping her healthy and getting her to 100 years.
She was a regular mall-walker, going into Greenwood Park Mall to walk the open areas before shoppers came in.
“It wasn’t exciting to some people, but there’s a lot of people who do it,” she said. “You meet a lot of people, and when you’re done, sit down and drink a cup of coffee.”