Family, friends throw party for 100-year-old Durham workout enthusiast

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) -- Mary Hester Smith needed some assistance as she entered White Rock Baptist Church for a party in her honor. She is, after all, 100 years old now.

That's a milestone that makes her niece Nicole Livas' eyes twinkle with delight as she grins and exclaims:

"Like the emoji,"100!" That's really how I feel. And she has been saying for the past year, 'You know I'm gonna be a hundred in March?' And we said yes, Aunt Mary Hester, we know. She is so excited about it"

She's the spry centenarian we showed you last week, working out on her birthday. Many viewers were amazed to see her in action, with a level of enthusiasm that some couch potatoes half her age struggle to achieve.

"If someone 100 years old can exercise, three times a week," asked White Rock Baptist Church member Paulette Singletary, "what is our excuse?"

Livas says there's a reason for her aunt's three times a week routine.

"Her late husband was a veteran, a World War Two veteran, and Geri Fit is part of the military program where they work out. And she loves it," Livas said.

You could feel the love in the church's Fellowship Hall as well-wishers applauded while singing the familiar birthday song, which, for the record, was written just twenty-five years before her birth.

"There's no question about it. She is a mother, a sister, an auntie, a mentor, a teacher," Livas said.

Family and friends know it's a rare occasion, a chance to honor a woman for her decades of service to her community as a teacher, a woman of faith, and someone who maintains a relentlessly positive attitude.

Paulette Singletary hopes viewers with elders in the family will watch the story about Mary Hester Smith then honor them, too.

"When they live, not talk about them once they expire but to try to do things to make them happy. And she always has a smile on her face," she said.
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