Louise Johnson celebrated the milestone of 100 years of age Saturday, July 13.  Johnson’s granddaughter, Rosetta Perkins holds up a special birthday cake marking the milestone birthday. The cake was provided by Gentiva Hospice. --Katie Wood
Louise Johnson celebrated the milestone of 100 years of age Saturday, July 13. Johnson’s granddaughter, Rosetta Perkins holds up a special birthday cake marking the milestone birthday. The cake was provided by Gentiva Hospice. -- Katie Wood

Johnson marks reaching 100 with friends, family

Published 6:08pm Saturday, July 13, 2013

Saturday marked a milestone for Louise Johnson and her family, as she achieved a rare accomplishment — enjoying her 100th birthday cake on her 100th birthday. Johnson has seen 10 decades in Dallas County as she was born in Beloit July 13, 1913, and has lived in the area her entire life.

Johnson’s only living daughter, Addie Lee Wright, 79, has been taking care of her mother, who now lives in her home, for the past 10 years. Wright said her mother used to clean houses when she was younger and has always had a thing for plants — a trait she passed on to Wright.

“She loves her flowers. And they’re still doing good,” Wright said as she pointed to several of Johnson’s plants decorating the front of their home.

And when it comes to hitting that milestone of 100 years, Wright said it’s not something that runs in the family. In fact, she isn’t quite sure how her mother did it.

“She’s outlived everybody in the family,” Wright said of her mother, hinting that her longevity may have perhaps stemmed from her love of healthy foods. “She sure loved her greens and vegetables.”

Wright said her mother’s accomplishment is rare, noting four of Johnson’s five children preceded their mother in death.

“Don’t too many live to that age,” Wright said with a smile. “I’ll never make it — I have too many hurts and pains now. I’m the last one.”

Wright said she sees her purpose in life now to take care of her mother, adding, “I’m just doing the best I can.”

Johnson stays in her chair the majority of the day, but Wright said taking care of her mother is what keeps her young. And she laughed as she joked that when her mother acts out, it could be some sort of pay back for trouble she gave her mother years ago.

No matter how tough taking care of one’s mother may be, Wright said this birthday will be a sweet one for Johnson.

“She loves sweets,” Wright said. “She doesn’t want any water to drink, we told her nurse, she likes Coke; so we said give her whatever she wants.”

Wright said her daughter, Rosetta Perkins, often comes over to help take care of her mother as well.

“When she comes home she helps me put her in the bed. I try to help pick her up but my daughter does most of it,” Wright said.

Perkins said, “It’s just a blessing,” that her grandmother has lived to celebrate 100 years.

For the last three or four years Wright said they held a big dinner party for Johnson, but this year they said the family would just be having a smaller luncheon.

Johnson started on with Gentiva Hospice in 2012, and Anne Taddicken, Gentiva’s volunteer services manager said sharing in birthdays is just one of the highlights consumers receive from the hospice care.

“One of the things we like to do is commemorate birthdays, because when you’re in hospice every birthday counts,” Taddicken said. “So we like to bring a cake to the family and share in a momentous occasion.

“It’s just something that we can do to make each day brighter, make a little difference and be apart of their life and their quality of life.”

Johnson is the mother of five children, four deceased including: Robert Johnson, Louise J. Fowlkes, Johnie Johnson and Freward Johnson; one living Addie Wright. Johnson has nine grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

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