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Friends, family honor woman who reached milestone

Ella Mobley is grateful for every day. This month, she had a lot to be thankful for as she celebrated her 100th birthday at Thomson Health and Rehabilitation.

"Every day, I thank God for waking me up and for helping me make it through the night," Ms. Mobley said when she saw her birthday cake. "I've got so much to be thankful for."

Many of the rehabilitation center's residents, staff and family members attended the party in her honor on Aug. 13.

"I thought she was older than that, really," Ms. Mobley's grandson, Tray, said.

Ms. Mobley's hearing is almost gone, so communication is limited. But she knows what she likes and what she wants to say. She happily exclaimed over every present she received, including the gift bag full of Twix candy bars -- her favorite. But her exclamations changed to admonition when she found a bag that included cans of snuff.

"I quit that stuff six months ago," she said in a stern manner. "God took the taste out of my mouth. So, now I am blessed."

Samuel Sparks, Ms. Mobley's oldest son, said his mama was always a hard worker.

"She would sweep the yard until there was no grass at all," he said.

Even as a resident in the health care center, Ms. Mobley continues to work every day. She keeps busy with a needle and thread, sewing clothes by hand.

"I enjoy doing something," she said in a previous interview. "I crochet, I knit, you name it, I can do it. When I came up, what you wore, you had to make yourself."

Ms. Mobley had five sons, but only two are still living. She also has two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren, who attended the party.

While all of the residents enjoyed birthday cake, Ms. Mobley enjoyed driving her wheelchair around and visiting with each one of them. Activities Assistant Shonda Huff said Ms. Mobley rarely participates in the nursing home's activities because she is in her room sewing. But her birthday party was a different occasion, and Ms. Mobley basked in all the attention, smiling through her tears.

"I've had my share of troubles, but I've got so much to be thankful for," she said.

Mr. Sparks said a family party was held the next weekend in Warrenton. He said longevity runs in his mother's family.

"So I'm going to make 100, just like mama," he said as he held her arm.

Web posted on Thursday, August 27, 2009

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