MOBILE, Ala (WKRG) — Weighing only two pounds when she was born on December 25, 1920, Jacqueline Rita Martin Rice wasn’t expected to survive — much less thrive. One hundred years later, she is celebrating her birthday!
“It’s wonderful. I’m just so happy and elated I just don’t know what to say,” said Rice.
She grew up in Mobile in the community known as Down the Bay. “We were all like one big happy family.” She fondly recalls walking to school while attending Most Pure Heart of Mary where she reigned as Mardi Gras Queen and was a cheerleader.
“We didn’t have the money to ride buses like the students have now with their one hundred dollar Reebok’s. Get in the car and go to school.” Rice is grateful to have witnessed many milestones in her lifetime.
“It’s real beautiful to me cause I never thought I would live to see a black president. I never thought I would live to see our first black mayor, Honorable Samuel Leon Jones. There’s just so many things, to be able to go sit down and eat wherever you like to eat. There’s just been so many things I’ve seen, Rose Ann, thats come to pass.”
A thirty-one-year breast cancer survivor, Rice says her secret to living a long life is having a strong faith in God.
“I would tell them to keep praying and have that faith in God and whatever problems or trials they are going through, they’ll make it because he will see you through.”
Rice has lived in Louisiana for the past five years with her daughter Pamela Hutchinson.
A special drive-by celebration for the Christmas Day centenarian will be held in Mobile on January 9, 2021.
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