By NANCY KARRICK
Special to Atmore News
Friends of Essie Josey gathered at Brooks Memorial Baptist Church Fellowship Hall to help her celebrate her 100th birthday Monday, June 13. About 40 people were in attendance.
Essie was born on June 13, 1922, and was the fourth child of seven. As she grew older, it became her responsibility to look after the younger children. When she married, she moved to Texas and stayed there until she moved back to Atmore in 1966. Essie worked at Vanity Fair and retired from Masland Carpets. She had two sons, Randy and Ricky, who produced two grandsons. Her family now includes four great-grandchildren and one great-great-granddaughter. Essie still lives at home and has Sylvia (Sissy) Morgan as her caregiver.
The Brooks Memorial celebration included many well-planned elements. Jack Sharpless opened the program with a song which Essie had requested he sing at her funeral, “Beulah Land.” Jack figured Essie might enjoy hearing it more now than later. Betty Sharpless welcomed the group who had gathered to help Essie celebrate her momentous birthday and asked Jeremy Jones to give the blessing.
Following lunch, Teresa Brown entertained the group with “Washed in the Blood” and “I’ll Fly Away.” Jeremy Jones sang “How Great Thou Art” and led the group in singing the most important song of the day, “Happy Birthday to You.” Those in attendance were given the opportunity to tell their memories of Essie or share experiences which were special to the two of them.
Throughout the party, Essie, who was wearing a lovely lavender silk suit with a coordinating corsage, was beaming with happiness. Joining her on her special day were her sister and brother-in-law, Voncile and Garth Branch, and special friend, Evelyn Latham. Mrs. Latham told the group about the years she and Essie spent doing hair for the residents of the nursing home. Throughout the day, many memories were rekindled and wishes given to Essie for many more years.
Essie was also entertained at a more family-oriented party at David’s Catfish House on Saturday, June 11. A highlight of that event was the surprise arrival of Dr. Jonah McIntyre. Several years ago, he had commented to Essie that if she lived to be 100, he would come and play his harmonica for her. Someone connected Dr. McIntrye and called in the promise. True to his word, he came and played “Happy Birthday” on his harmonica. Essie told him he made her day, to which he replied, “You made my day too. You’re the first patient I’ve had who has lived to be 100 years old.”