Local woman to celebrate 100th birthday

Jeter has had the pleasure of seeing multiple generations of her family grow up.

Local woman to celebrate 100th birthday
January 20
15:16 2021

Hattie Jeter, a Winston-Salem native, will be celebrating her 100th birthday today, Jan. 21. Jeter has seen Winston-Salm grow from its infancy as the “Twin City” to the hub of arts and innovation in the area.

“I feel fine and I’m happy to make it to be this age,” Jeter said about her milestone birthday.

Jeter, or “Hat” as she is affectionately called, is of sound mind and body and continues to live an independent life.  She was born on the west side of town and attended primary school at Kimberley Park before attending Atkins High School. She is also a long-time member of Union Baptist Church.

Jeter has lived to see several generations of her family grow up. Jeter and her husband Coleman (deceased) have one son (Cary), three grandchildren (Malia, Cevin, and Cary II), three great grandchildren (Cevin, Caliyah and Jackson) and three great-great grandchildren. She says she is happy to have the opportunity to see so many generations of her family.

Her grandson, Cary, says he is very close to his grandmother. For her to still be around at this age is a blessing for him and the rest of the family.

“Her life keeps my life connected,” he said. “Since she has been around my whole life, I can remember my experiences through her being there, so that has been very nice for me. It’s a blessing that she is still here, because every milestone, every accomplishment that I have experienced, she has been here.

“I would feel a great loss if she wasn’t here, in those spaces in my life, because I can still come back and talk to her about the things I have done and that she has been there to experience.”

Jeter worked mainly as a housekeeper throughout her adult life. She stated she enjoyed working with the families she was employed by over the years.

“It was full of good experiences, because they were always nice to me,” Jeter said about her time working as a housekeeper.  

She recalled stories of her childhood when they would visit the ballpark or have ice cream on the weekends. During that time, she says many in the African American community lived in Happy Hill Gardens. She says growing up in that era was pretty good for her and her family.

Jeter is not the only one in her family that has been blessed with a long life. She has two living siblings, Mary Shields (90) and Hazel Lyerly (96) and they speak on the phone often. Jeter had a total of six siblings. 

Cary stated that he and his sister would spend a lot of time at Jeter’s house. They both say that they enjoyed the time spent with their grandmother.

“We would come and stay with her a lot and we always enjoyed it because she is very social, so she had a lot of friends and was out and about,” he continued. “She was always going to parties and occasions and she would take us with her. We always said she was our “fun grandma,” because she was always doing stuff and was dragging us along.”

Jeter’s granddaughter Malia added, “She would dress us up and she would make sure we had nice shoes. She would buy me fancy dresses and he (Cary) would have on a nice little suit. We were so close in age that wherever one went, the other went. People used to always say that I was her mini-me, because we walk alike.”

Jeter’s great grandson Cevin says he also has a close bond with her. He spent countless hours with her as a child, which is why he looks to her as a mother figure.

“My grandmother has been like a mother to me my whole life,” he said. “My parents were kind of young when they had me, so when my mom and dad were working, I would come here after school. Her and my grandad Coleman, that passed away about 10 years ago, pretty much raised me and that is pretty much all the upbringing I could remember.

“Coming here as a young kid growing up, she did everything for me. Just like them (Malia and Cary), she took me everywhere and kept me in the church and pretty much took care of me in every way. With her still being here, I felt like God has kept her around because He knows I need her here and if she leaves, it will be a hurtful thing for me. She is a feisty person, but her heart is always in the right place.”

The family is coordinating a drive by birthday parade for Jeter on Jan. 23 at 2 p.m.  The cars will meet at Hanes Hosiery recreation center for the start of the parade.

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Timothy Ramsey

Timothy Ramsey

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