Her buddies at the Virginian assisted-living heart in Fairfax, Va., determined they might spherical out the menu and added a do-it-yourself German chocolate cake to the festivities for Barnes.
“Her pleasant, optimistic disposition is contagious,” stated Janenne Springer, the middle’s life enrichment coordinator who has identified Barnes for six of the 14 years she’s lived there.
She and different employees members labored with Barnes’s daughter, Martha Barnes, to make Mary Barnes’s beer and crab desserts bash simply the best way she needed it.
“My mother has all the time advised me the key to her longevity is that God needs her round to ensure she retains me and my brother out of hassle,” stated Martha, 66, noting that her mother doesn’t have any grandchildren. “At this stage in her life, I suppose I’ve no purpose to doubt it.”
“She’s an incredible and brave lady who went by means of a whole lot of arduous occasions in her life,” Martha famous. “At age 103, she definitely deserves to be honored.”
Mary Barnes, born Mary Feldman, grew up in the course of the Great Depression in Danville, Va., and stated she helped look after her mom, who was severely burned in a coal furnace accident. Her father died of appendicitis when she was 10.
“I had a sister and a brother, and our household made a small revenue by operating a [milk] pasteurizing enterprise,” Barnes stated. “There have been no authorities advantages throughout these occasions, however we felt lucky, in comparison with many others.”
“Folks would come to our door and say, ‘Ma’am, do you’ve got any bread?’” she recalled. “My grandmother made biscuits each morning to present to those that have been hungry. It was simply what you probably did.”
“I needed to be part of all of it — I used to be searching for journey,” she stated, noting that she was among the many first WAVES (Ladies Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service) to be put to work after President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed the Navy Ladies’s Reserve Act into regulation.
“I’d hoped to be stationed in Alaska, however they wanted me in Hawaii, and I used to be tremendous with that,” Barnes stated. “If historical past was being made, I needed to be there.”
Martha Barnes stated her mother typically advised her tales in regards to the sexist surroundings that was commonplace within the navy.
“All of those males needed up to now her, and so they have been normally married,” she stated. “My mother had a buddy in accounting who would examine to see if that they had a wedding deduction taken out of their paycheck. In the event that they did, she wouldn’t exit with them.”
Certainly one of her male colleagues advised Mary that the one purpose she joined the Navy was to discover a husband, she recalled.
“I advised him, ‘You’re proper — nevertheless it’s not going to be you,’” Barnes stated.
After 3½ years in Hawaii, and one other 12 months within the Navy Reserves, she stated she did discover a husband — or possibly he discovered her.
Fred Barnes was working at his sister’s restaurant in Ann Arbor, Mich., when Mary got here in for lunch in the future, Martha Barnes stated.
“After the battle, Mother got here house to Virginia for a few years, then a former colleague provided her a job at his accounting enterprise in Ann Arbor,” she stated. “When Dad noticed her, he instantly needed to take her out.”
One date led to a different, and by the top of 1948 they moved to Danville and have been married, Mary stated.
She and her husband raised two youngsters — Martha and Mark Barnes, and Fred labored for the Division of Protection whereas Mary spent greater than 20 years working for Fairfax County Public Schools as a secretary, she stated.
“There have been occasions after we didn’t have some huge cash, and Mother would present us we may nonetheless have enjoyable by having fun with the easy issues,” Martha Barnes recalled.
“We’d exit and have enjoyable within the snow, or we’d placed on our boots and splash round after a spring rainstorm,” she stated. “My mom gave me a love for the outside and nature.”
Mark Barnes, a retired legal professional dwelling in San Francisco, stated he remembers that his mother all the time had a powerful opinion to supply.
“Generally you agree, and generally you don’t, however my mom has all the time held to her opinions,” stated Mark, 73. “It’s arduous to imagine she’s 103. She nonetheless has some good years left, I’m certain of that.”
Mary Barnes stated she stays younger at coronary heart by maintaining an lively social life on the Virginian, consuming an occasional glass of beer or wine and studying The Washington Put up from starting to finish each morning.
“I wish to know what’s happening on the earth — particularly the sports activities information,” she stated.
She had a tough time after her husband died on Valentine’s Day in 2011, however she stated she regularly was capable of finding enjoyment in her days once more and search for the nice in life.
“I miss him and take into consideration him day by day,” Barnes stated, “however I’ve a whole lot of good reminiscences and I’ve a contented life. I’m trying ahead to a different celebration once I’m 104.”