Today, Willie Mae Hardy turned 111, an age milestone that’s remarkable and rare.
Hardy, according to a profile in I Am Decatur, was born in Junction City, Georgia, in 1908. She was the granddaughter of a slave. She plowed the fields, picked cotton and cared for the hogs and chickens.
The oldest of seven, she had to drop out of school in third grade to help her mother raise her siblings. Her family noted this was common at the time.
She moved to Atlanta with her daughter, Cassie Neil, in 1939, then Decatur in 1966. She still lives there now with her daughter, who is 92-years-old.
According to a statement from her family, Hardy has seven grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, 30 great-great grandchildren and four great-great-great grandchildren.
She enjoys TV shows including Tyler Perry’s “Meet the Browns” and “House of Payne” and “The Andy Griffith Show.”
Hardy has been a member of Butler Street Baptist Church for more than 73 years. She is the oldest member. Though she is unable to continue attending in person, according to her family, she still tithes and takes Holy Communion.
She was an active member, participating in charity work. She helped cook for church fundraisers and worked as a Missionary board member.
“Due to her age, she’s unable to remain true to all her passions: going for walks, working in her yard, gardening and taking care of her porch plants,” her family said in the statement. “Regardless of her age, she remains to be a loving and caring grandmother, our ‘family backbone,’ a dedicated Church member and dear friend.”
Her birthday sparked a number of wishes on Twitter Monday.
111 YEARS YOUNG AND FABULOUS! Willie Mae Hardy has seen her daughter, 7 grandchildren, 10 great-grandchildren, 30 great-great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-great-grandchildren grow up! Mrs. Hardy is celebrating her 111th birthday today. Wishing this beauty the best! 🎂🎈 pic.twitter.com/oPMefFY7W9— Anne Cutler (@AnneCutler) March 11, 2019
Happy 111th birthday to Georgia born Willie Mae Hardy of Talbot County, she has lived in Atlanta for over 70 years! pic.twitter.com/os25D2kXBu— Everything Georgia (@GAFolIowers) March 10, 2019
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Credit: JOHN SPINK / AJC