By Thomas Sellers Jr.
They traveled from as far as Riverside, Calif., and Milwaukee, Wis., to honor the “backbone” of their family.
This past weekend Millington was home of a big centennial celebration on the behalf of Almarene Jefferson. The longtime Millington resident will turn 100 this Saturday in her home in Riverside.
Before moving to California three years ago to live with her daughter Loraine Simpson, Jefferson built a family and life on Bethuel Road in Millington with her late husband Clyde.
Originally from New Albany, Miss., Jefferson moved north to Tennessee and started her family with Clyde. The couple brought five children in this world including Loraine, Mattie Parrish, Eva Joseph and the late Werdell Jefferson and Betty Phillips.
Loraine described her parents as community oriented people who kept their children focused on doing positive. She also remembered her mother as the strong presence in the household and a disciplinarian.
While living in Millington for 60 years, Almarene worked for the Millington Telephone Company for the late W.S. “Babe” Howard. She was a custodian for the company for more than 30 years.
Simpson said her mother developed a close relationship with the Howard family and many members of the Millington community.
That community came together this past Saturday at the Navy Lake to celebrate the woman born July 27, 1913. Under doctors’ orders not travel, Jefferson was back in Riverside.
Her children stood in for her at the picnic and day of fellowship with relatives from Colorado, Nebraska and the Memphis area. Members from Jefferson’s longtime spiritual home West Canaan Missionary Baptist Church were also in attendance.
“This is truly a milestone,” Simpson said. “No one in our family has lived that long. She is still a joyful spirit to be around. We love her so much.”
Simpson said she has special plans for Saturday with her mother back in California.