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Methodists host birthday celebration for Virginia Latimer

Updated: January 5, 2018

Virginia Latimer, who turned 100 on New Year’s Day, was honored a day early with a pot-luck luncheon at Ashdown First United Methodist Church. Most of the congregation and many friends and relatives from other areas were on hand to mark the celebration. Standing left to right in the photo are granddaughter Allison Thane Beavers of Tennessee, her children (Virginia’s great-grandchildren) Jaydyn Johnston, 10, and Jayley Beavers, 3 months, Virginia Latimer of Ashdown, and her daughter, Mary Virginia Thane of Texarkana.
Courtesy photo

By Carolyn Myers

Freelance Writer

On Sunday, Dec. 31, New Year’s Eve, Rev. Jim Cross and the congregation of Ashdown First United Methodist Church surprised one of their oldest and most faithful members with a birthday luncheon. Virginia Latimer was born on New Year’s Day in 1917. A petite, active woman with a beautiful smile, bright blue eyes and curly fair hair now turned white, she arrived at the church hall with her daughter, Mary Virginia of Texarkana, along with a granddaughter and two great-grandchildren, to enjoy the celebratory meal.

The church hall was completely filled with friends and Virginia graciously accepted the congratulation of the guests. Never one to seek the spotlight, Virginia, until just recently was always one of those working in the church kitchen, attending to everyone else. This time it was her turn to be attended to. She was enjoying the congratulations of all her friends when she noticed several out-of-town relatives coming through the door. Virginia was very surprised, having had no idea that her daughter had contacted the relatives to let them know about the celebration. After everyone had arrived, Virginia had relatives from Arkansas, Texas, Tennessee and Oregon there to celebrate her 100th birthday.

During the celebration great-granddaughter Jaydyn Johnston of Tennessee, 10, read her own tribute to her grandmother, as follows:

“My Dear Beloved Memaw,

I wanted to say that I love you. You will always be the best, best, best great-grandma in the world. I’m so happy that you get to turn 100. You have had a great life. I love it when you play chicken foot dominoes with us. You are so funny when you try to win the game. You always want to win. I will cherish all the memories we have had with you so far. Thank you so much for all the things you have given to me. You are so sweet and loving. You always have a big, big smile on your face. I love it when you always tell me memory verses. And the last thing I wanted to say is God bless you and keep you in His care.”

The child’s letter brought lots of smiles and some happy tears to those listening.

Approximately 90 people were on hand to wish Virginia Latimer “Happy Birthday – And many more!”