ST. JOSEPH — It was all laughs as Loletia McVey recently celebrated her 107th birthday. The St. Joseph woman was surrounded by friends and family at Vintage Gardens for a Valentine's-themed birthday party.
"I think she's happy that it's her birthday," said Claire Athy, McVey's niece. "I think she loves being the center of attention, but I think she's overwhelmed at the same time."
The senior said she really just wanted $100 for her birthday and said it could surprise people what she could do with that much money.
"But you can't be excited to be 107," she said.
McVey was presented with three cakes to form the numbers one and seven and a heart-shaped cake for the zero. She was pleasantly surprised, as cake and ice cream are her favorite part of the big day.
"She has a good attitude," Athy said. "That has a lot to do with her longevity, I think." That and good genes.
Born in 1904, McVey's mother lived to be 105 and her grandmother lived to see 99. That was something uncommon for a woman during that time. McVey and her older sister, by two years, had made a pact to try and not live to see their 100th birthdays. Her sister passed away at 93, but McVey kept on going.
In her younger days, she spent much of her time showing goodwill toward others. She and her sister would knit roughly 70 sweaters a year to give to the local church for those in need.
She was married to the love of her life, the late Dr. Taylor C. McVey, for more than 50 years.
Unable to have any children of her own, McVey formed a special bond with Athy.
"God put her in my life for a reason," Athy said.
Athy and her husband, Gregg, of Fort Worth, Texas, made the trip for McVey's special day. Athy comes up every couple of months to visit her favorite aunt.
"She has been my best mom, my best friend, my best playmate, my best cohort in crime, she has been everything to me," Athy said. "She has been a role model to me all of my life. I would not miss (her birthday) for anything."