Celebrating a century of life

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, August 1, 2007

UNIONTOWN – Although her birthday isn’t officially until October 6, Mary Witherspoon celebrated her 100th year of life with family and friends Saturday, Oct. 1.

As she sat under a shade tree in the yard of her Uniontown home, Witherspoon received presents and cash from her loved ones.

“My mom said I’d live a long time because I was obedient,” she said. “My mama always said I was a quiet child. She said I was the quietest child she had ever seen.”

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Born and raised in Newbern, Witherspoon said she’d always rather sit with her mother than go play with her six sisters and five brothers.

“They would all go play and I would stay with my mama,” she said. “I would tell them ‘we can’t all be gone. What if mama needs something?”

At the age of 41, Witherspoon moved to Uniontown after her first home burned down.

For money, she worked at the King Pharr okra plant.

As a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Uniontown where Rev. Daniel Arthur is the pastor, Witherspoon said she enjoys praying, reading the Bible and singing in her spare time.

“People ask me if I am lonesome staying here by myself,” she said. “Long as I got my Bible I am never by myself.”

Although she only has one son, Witherspoon has eight grandchildren and a number of great-grandchildren to keep her on her toes as well.

She recently received two letters, one from Uniontown’s mayor, Phillip White, and the other from Governor Bob Riley, congratulating her on the 100-year celebration.

According to her family, Witherspoon rose from her wheelchair and put out a house fire by herself sometime last year and is still awaiting a letter of acknowledgement from mayor White for her heroic actions.

Although Witherspoon is celebrating 100, she isn’t the only member of her family to live past a century.

“All my brothers and sisters died except for me and my baby sister,” she said. “But my oldest sister lived to be 109.”

Witherspoon said she is grateful for “anything” she gets for her birthday because she has enough joy simply being able to enjoy the day.

“I am having an overcoming good time,” she said. “I’m blessed to be here and see this.”