3 Friends Celebrate 100th Birthdays, Lifetime of Love Together

It’s not every day you hear someone turning the big 100. It’s even more rare when three lifelong friends can say they’re celebrating this milestone together!


Ruth Chatman Hammett, Gladys Ware Butler and Bernice Grimes Underwood.


Ruth, Gladys and Bernice recently celebrated their 100th birthday at Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C., where they have praised the Lord together there since they were kids.

All three women all born in June or July of 1916.

Their friendship goes waaay back — since World War I!

Missing from the celebrations was a fourth close friend, Leona Barnes, who passed away in May, just two months before her 100th birthday. But she was there in spirit… The women remembered Leona during the celebration with a large portrait of her next to them on the pew.

So what’s their secret? Well, Bernice exercises and dances every day, and everyone agreed that love was the key to longevity. Amen to that!

When reflecting on all she had witnessed in her life, Leona told the Washington Post she was “glad that the Lord gave me the opportunity to see this in my lifetime. I never thought I would see a black president.”

Oprah was so inspired by their stories, she even sent a little video to wish them a happy birthday.


Zion Baptist Church in Washington, D.C.


This is a great reminder for me that even if you live to be 100, life is too short. This made me think about all the lovely people and friendships I have in my life. My mentor, comedian Michael Pritchard, once told me one of the best “ships” to sail on is “friendship.” Might I add “relationships” are really what life is about.

As a journalist, I have had the delight of meeting a myriad of people from all walks of life. I’ve also been a caregiver for four family members, and have been with them on their death beds. I’ve realized the relationships and connections you have with people you love are the most important thing in life.

So while we may not all have the chance to live 100 years make sure your time here on earth counts.

Enjoy every moment spreading love, spending time with and cherishing the folks you love.

I can’t help but imagine everything these centenarians have seen and heard. Boy, would I love to sit down and have a conversation with them.

Happy, Happy, Happy Birthday to these lovely ladies!

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