Celebrating 'many good healthy years'

'Happy birthday, young lady!'

zmurdock@beaufortgazette.comOctober 30, 2013 

"Happy birthday, young lady!"

River Oaks resident Mary Meadows celebrated her 100th birthday Wednesday

Mary Meadows' special birthday celebration began Saturday and included her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and even one great-great-grandchild.

The oldest resident in the River Oaks Residential Care community turned 100 on Wednesday.

"The Lord has given me many good healthy years," she said.

Born in Logansport, La., on Oct. 30, 1913, Meadows spent most of her life in Texas, including many years in Longview and Austin. She has lived in Beaufort for 12 of the past 13 years and lived on her own until she was 90.

"You think about how the world has changed since 1913," said granddaughter Shannon Duffy. "It's incredible."

Duffy, who lives in Beaufort, is one of six grandchildren. Those "grands" have 17 children among them, including 2-year-old Anthony -- Meadows' great-great-grandchild.

On Saturday, 27 family members made trips to Beaufort from Texas, Pennsylvania, Florida and Missouri, to celebrate Meadows' birthday. Five generations of the family came for the party.

"We had been planning this for months so everyone could come out," said Jerry Sonnabend, Meadows' son-in-law.

Meadows worked for a short time but has spent almost all of her life taking care of everyone in the family, from her six sisters to her myriad nieces and nephews.

"She was always caregiving and helping people out," Sonnabend said.

On Wednesday, Meadows celebrated the birthday with the residents at River Oaks with ice cream sundaes after dinner, served up by Sonnabend and Duffy and Dufffy's son -- one of her youngest great-grand children -- 10-year-old Warren.

"It's incredible she's 100 years old," River Oaks resident Franklin Lanier said. "She's a lot better of than I am, and I ain't but 83."

Around River Oaks, Meadows remains active, strolling around the building with her walker every day, said Penny Mont, River Oaks activities director.

Meadows' vision and hearing are deteriorating, but it's hardly slowed her down, Mont said.

"She's the first one to exercise class every day," Mont said. "And she loves trivia. So long as she hears the question, she's got all the answers."

Throughout the party, the other residents gave Meadows their best wishes: "Happy birthday, young lady!" and "Have a couple more."

"Did I tell you someone told me they have a grandmother that's 107?" Duffy asked Meadows during the party. "Well, they're just showing off."

Follow reporter Zach Murdock at twitter.com/IPBG_Zach.

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