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'She knows it's a blessing' | DC native Willie Mae Avery celebrates her 107th birthday

Ms. Avery is recognized as the District's oldest resident.

WASHINGTON — A D.C. woman celebrates a milestone birthday this week. Willie Mae Avery will be turning 107 on May 28. 

Friends and family gathered to celebrate her birthday Wednesday at Walker Memorial Baptist Church, which the retired church deaconess considers a second home.

Jacqueline Ellis, a deacon at Walker Memorial,  said Avery was an active deacon when she came to the church, and until Avery got sick she was always at the church and offering help wherever it was needed.

"She was always serving, she would go and visit the nursing homes. 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," Ellis said.

Ellis explained that even though she is not an active deacon any longer at 106, she remains an important member of the church with a bright and beautiful spirit.

"We are here to celebrate and honor a life well lived. Ms. Willie Mae Avery will be 107 on May 28, 2022. She was born in 1915. Deaconess Avery is such a wonderful spirit. She is such a lovely woman," Ellis said. "Her spirit is such a joy. She's a loving person, she's a kind person. Her spirit is all about service to the lord." 

"She knows it's a blessing to be here today," Ellis said.

Avery is a resident of Ward 4 in D.C. and has been recognized by the Department of Aging as a DC Centenarian and is now being recognized as the oldest living resident in the District. 

During Wednesday's celebration, complete with cake and balloons, a member of Mayor Muriel Bowser's office issued a proclamation wishing Avery a happy birthday and thanking her for being a pillar of her community.

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