Family, friends and fellow residents of Forest Ridge Assisted Living in West Jefferson gathered Tuesday afternoon to help Ila Mae Phillips celebrate her 100th birthday.
With a big smile on her face, “Mae,” as everyone called her, enjoyed a variety of special gifts. These included an original poem read by a granddaughter, a video presentation from family, church members and friends by Forest Ridge Executive Director Melissa Deskins, songs from Sons of Pitch acapella quartet (Swift Black, Tom Fowler, Tom Truxal and Bob Baldwin), roses from Maynard Stuart of Jefferson Florist and presented by Senior Tar Heel Delegate Clara Miller, a framed resolution from High Country Council of Governments Area Agency on Aging presented by Jefferson Mayor Dana Tugman, a corsage from Village Florist, flowers from the staff, cake and lots of cards.
Mayor Tugman read the resolution in recognition of Mrs. Phillips’ centennial year. It stated that Mrs. Phillips was born in Wilkes County on June 5, 1912 to Hoy Monroe Johnson and Gertie Eller Johnson, and moved to Ashe County when she was nine years old. She attended school in Obids.
Mae married Worth Miller in 1926 and they had three children; Louise Burgess, Rosa Lee Winebarger and Charles Leonard Miller; five grandchildren; and two great grandchildren. Mae was widowed and she married Worth Phillips in 1960.
“Mrs. Phillips was a wonderful cook and homemaker, but also loved the outdoors,” the resolution read, “and mowed her own yard at ninety, at which time she purchased a riding lawnmower.”
Mrs. Phillips is a lifetime member of North Beaver Baptist Church and gives credit to the Lord for her long life.