Veola (Veecy) Tinsley

Tinsley, Veola (Veecy)

Mrs. Veola Tinsley, was born in Providence, Kentucky. Upon graduating from high school, Veecy moved to Champaign where she met and married Roscoe Tinsley. They became the proud parents of three daughters: Elvena, Sharon, and Rosalind. Roscoe and Veecy opened Tinsley's Cleaners during the early 1950s and remained in business until his death in 1974. Her daughters attribute their work ethic to the training received by working in the family business during school and summer breaks. They were told that hard work was a prerequisite for building good character.

Mrs. Tinsley is an active member of Salem Baptist Church. She served as Church Clerk for more than 30 years. She also worked with the Willing Workers Missionary Club, the Mother's Board, and volunteered in the Soup Kitchen. She is famous for her spicy cabbage.

After the death of her husband, Veecy returned to school and received her Bachelor's Degree from Eastern Illinois University on December 16, 1979. Armed with her degree, she began working as a counselor for the Champaign Consortium. Later she worked for the JPTA, where she assisted many teenagers and adults in becoming gainfully employed. Veecy retired on September 16, 1995.

On January 21, 2021, Veola Tinsley turned 100 years old. She is the oldest living member of Salem Baptist Church in Champaign. With her birthday celebration happening during the pandemic, the church organized a walk-by outside her window as part of a daylong celebration that included a giant “Happy Birthday” sign, a letter from Brookdale’s CEO, cards, and a cake.

She says that the secret to reaching 100 is “eating well when I was a child,” thinking fondly on the vegetable garden her father had when she was a child. “No pizza or Kool-Aid today.”