Happy 100th birthday Bessie Bates

Published 12:48 am Sunday, July 27, 2008

Covenant Health and Rehab of Picayune, LLC., held an open house last Thursday to celebrate the 100th Birthday of Bessie Bates.

When asked if she was surprised by the party, Bates said, “Oh heavens, yes.”

Her daughter, Mary Frances Sofeo, said that Bates had actually known about the party for several weeks and that she was very concerned about her appearance leading up to the big day.

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“She didn’t care about turning 100 years old, as long as she didn’t look it,” laughed daughter Sofeo. According to her, Bates asked about the time of her hair salon appointment several times in the days leading up to the event.

Several family members talked about the incredible “longevity gene” that runs in their family. Both of Bates parents lived well into their 90’s, according to Bates’ grandson, Paul Reese.

All seven of Bates grandchildren were able to make it into Picayune for the open house. Family traveled from across the country to help her celebrate — one family member drove all the way from Maine, while another flew in from California.

A second party was planned for Saturday at grandson Reese’s home. Fireworks were scheduled to top off the event. Thursday’s guests were already looking forward to the festivities on Saturday.

Bates shared her special celebration, which lasted through the end of the week and on into the weekend, with two living children, seven grandchildren, 14 great grandchildren, and one great great grandchild. With the great great grandchild, Railey Davis, attending the Covenant party, the family was able to pose for a five generations photo.

Bates friends from Covenant, including staff and other residents, also got to enjoy cake with her and sing “Happy Birthday.”

Bates’ actual birthday is today, July 27.