Brandon woman to celebrate 105th birthday, shares her secrets

Iva Lee Haygood Bell, photo provided by Hillsborough County officials

BRANDON, Fla. (WFLA) – A Brandon woman celebrated her 105th birthday Friday.

Iva Lee Haygood Bell, photo provided by Hillsborough County officials
Iva Lee Haygood Bell, photo provided by Hillsborough County officials
Iva Lee Haygood Bell, photo provided by Hillsborough County officials
Iva Lee Haygood Bell, photo provided by Hillsborough County officials

Iva Lee Haygood Bell says there’s no magic formula behind her long life. She did say she has been drinking coffee since she was just 5 years old. Bell never even tried smoking or tasted alcohol, she said.

“I never took medicine,’’ Bell said. “Never been sick, didn’t have to. If I took medicine it probably would make me sick.’’

She still leads an active life, visiting a recreation center three to four times per week to socialize and participate in activities, Hillsborough County officials said.

When Bell was born in 1911, William Howard Taft was president of the United States. Bell was born in Georgia. She moved to Tampa at the age of 15.

Bell has three daughters. She was married to her husband, Rowland Bell, for 56 years before his passing in 1984.

In the 1930s Bell rolled cigars for Hav-A-Tampa. She also worked in Downtown Tampa at the Maas Brothers department store.

Rowland Bell worked for the shipyards and as a mechanic at Hav-A-Tampa “before the family ran a feed and grocery store on Florida Avenue near Sulphur Springs,” Hillsborough officials said. The family later ran a Brandon grocery store.

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