'Love is the secret:' Fayetteville woman celebrates 100th birthday

Joel Brown Image
Friday, May 5, 2023
Fayetteville woman celebrates 100th birthday
"Love is the secret"

FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. (WTVD) -- From the front room of the Fayetteville home she's lived in for decades, Eula Kerr McKoy is celebrating one century of life.

"I was born May 8, 1923," said McKoy who came into the world when Warren Harding was in the White House.

She's watched 18 American presidents in all.

"No, I never imagined I would live 100 years," McKoy said. "I thank the Lord every day."

The specialness is not lost on McKoy's children. Her oldest son Allen is 76 years old. In his golden years himself and now celebrating his mother's platinum day.

"It's a true blessing to have your mother for that long," Kerr said. "We can sit here and laugh and talk and joke."

During her interview with ABC11, we showed McKoy an old portrait from her days as a 19-year-old student at Fayetteville State, asking: What would be her advice to that 19-year-old version of herself?

"She could do anything! She could be the president of the United States," McKoy said.

In the 1960's she turned herself into a sought-after seamstress. Her talents with textiles grace churches and homes, including her own.

"I did all these draperies," said McKoy pointing at the windows and the pink and cream drapes in her living room.

But her five children remember a mother who poured most of her energy into them. All of them earned college degrees. Her daughter, Linda Norflett went on to become Dean of the School of Liberal Arts at North Carolina Central University.

"That's what she and Daddy always said, 'Y'all got to go to school.' They couldn't imagine us doing anything if we didn't get a degree," Norflett remembered.

When asked what the secret to long life is, McKoy quickly pointed to love.

"Everybody in the world needs to have love in their heart and treat others like you would want to be treated," she said. "The love is the secret. Hallelujah, thank you."

Saturday May 6 at 1 p.m., Ms. McKoy's long-time church home, St. Luke AME Church in Fayetteville is hosting a community-wide birthday party in her honor. She will officially turn 100-years-old on Monday.