Oldest living Williston alum celebrates 103rd birthday

Oldest living Williston alum celebrates 103rd birthday
Charlotte Perry, the oldest living Williston Alumnus, celebrated her 103rd birthday Tuesday. Family and friends hosted a birthday celebration at Azalea Health and Rehabilitation Center

WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - When Charlotte Perry was born in 1916, Woodrow Wilson was President of the United States. A loaf of bread cost about six cents.

When she graduated from Williston Industrial School —Wilmington’s all-black high school — in 1934, the average income was $1,780 a year. The cost of bread had jumped to a whopping nine cents.

A lot has changed over the past 103 years, but one thing has remained constant for the Wilmington native and Williston graduate—her faith in God. She believes following the Lord is why she’s still here today.

"It’s just a miracle to me and that’s all I know and I don’t know why I remain here so long but I think the Lord has something intended for me and I’m still waiting,” Perry says.

On Tuesday, friends and family held a celebration in Perry’s honor at Azalea Health and Rehabilitation Center.

Linda Pearce Thomas, former executive director of Elderhaus, was one of them. Thomas, a graduate of Williston Senior High School — as the school was later called — says Perry was like a second mother.

“She was my neighbor for over 50 years and stood in as my mother at my wedding when she was 98,” Thomas says.

Perry is the oldest living Williston alumnus. She’s not as mobile as she used to be, but her mind is still sharp.

“So far I’ve gotten along pretty good,” she says. “You know, I haven’t lost too much and I’ve lost some things, but still I have a lot to be thankful for.”

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