Washington, DC’s oldest resident celebrates 107th birthday

WASHINGTON — Washington, D.C.’s oldest resident celebrated her 107th birthday in style, with a party three days before her official date of birth.

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According to North Carolina online birth records, Willie Mae Avery was born on May 28, 1915, in Catawba County, the daughter of Fred Avery and Eve Ransour Avery.

Friends and family gathered Thursday to celebrate Avery’s birthday Wednesday at Walker Memorial Baptist Church, WTTG-TV reported.

“I’m just so happy,” Avery told the television station. “I don’t have words to say just so much.”

Jacqueline Ellis, a deacon at the church, said Avery was an active deacon when she came to the church and remained involved until becoming sick recently, WUSA-TV reported.

“She was always serving, she would go and visit the nursing homes,” Ellis told the television station. “She would put things in her car and ride down the street and if she saw someone she thought needed something, she would stop and ask them if they needed it.”

According to the 1930 census, Avery was working as a nurse for children in Hickory, North Carolina, when she was 15. Her father was a laborer at a dairy farm,

Avery is now a resident of Ward 4 in Washington and has been recognized by the Department of Aging as a DC Centenarian, according to WUSA. She is now recognized as the oldest living resident in the District of Columbia.

District of Columbia Mayor Muriel Bowser sent a letter and a certificate to commemorate Avery’s special day, WTTG reported.

“As Mayor of Washington, D.C., I am so very pleased to congratulate Ms. Willie Mae Avery on the wonderful occasion of your 107th birthday,” Bowser wrote. “Ms. Avery, whether your steadfast commitment to your Ward 4 neighbors through longtime residency, or your spiritual donation to your faith through membership at Walker Memorial Baptist Church located near the historic U Street Corridor, you have long been known as an extraordinary pillar of your community to all who have had the pleasure to know and love you.”