Born on Aug. 8, 1920, Julia Lee Kelley, from Franklinton, truly deserves the term “matriarch,” with over 173 descendants in her family.
These include 5 children, 30 grandchildren, 88 great-grandchildren, 49 great-great-grandchildren, and an incredibly special great-great-great grandchild.
The family usually hosts a big bash that ends up a de facto family reunion, but this being the year of the pandemic, they planned a socially distanced parade party for guests to wish Kelley a happy birthday.
“Thank the Lord for allowing me to make it to 100,” the grateful senior told CNN.
Festivities were organized in part by Kelley’s great-granddaughter, Kelley Oakley, who posted several videos on Facebook showing the happy day.
She captioned: “Dear Grandma I’m blessed to still have you! Today is your day… live it up! I pray that I live as long as you and still be cute and healthy!”
The birthday lady had a special tent set up for her, where she could sit with ample shade and watch as cars of well-wishers, both relations and church family, pulled up and wished her a great day.
“We didn’t want too many people too close to her … that was the reason for the drive-through,” daughter Catherine Williams told the news outlet.
The special arrangements were far from logistically simple, but 100 years on this earth is a wonderful milestone and too rare to pass up. “No way you can let a century go by and not celebrate,” Oakley insisted.
And celebrate they did.
In the morning, Oakley also took her great-grandmother to the Bombshell Beauty Bar in nearby Oxford for a hair-styling session and made a special collage showing Kelley’s hair from different angles with a caption: “This is what 100 looks like.”
Oakley added, “I still need to learn how to make those cakes from scratch like you but we still got time😍 Keep blessing us with just living … I love you and Happy Birthday!!”
Then, around 3:00 p.m., Kelley received her tributes.
While not all well-wishers could reach out and give Kelley a hug, they weren’t shy in showing their appreciation. “They blew the horns. They had their cars decorated. They had balloons out the window,” Oakley explained. “And my little cousins got the cards for her and put (them) in a box.”
As for the lady of the hour, she was visibly thrilled to see such a big fuss being made over her.
Kelley’s daughter Catherine Williams estimated that between 25 and 30 carloads of birthday guests came by. “I just felt like hollering and crying or shouting,” Kelley told the news outlet. “I was so happy to see my friends, family, and church members.”
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