Obama’s inauguration was the perfect time for Ida McDougal’s 100th birthday party

A table inside Wesley Enhanced Living at Stapeley’s commons area displayed three reasons for the party held there on Monday afternoon.

Calendars, mugs and T-shirts featuring President Barack Obama’s image marked the first ceremonial day of his second term in the White House. They sat alongside images of the late Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. which acknowledged the national holiday held in his honor.

Those were joined by pictures of Ida Curtis McDougal whose 100th birthday celebration drew those assembled to see it all.

“Any of the employees that know her know that she is a huge [Obama] fan, so it’s really fitting that it fell on this day,” said Carly Solis-Cohen, enhanced living coordinator at Wesley, of the birthday girl who attended Obama’s first inauguration with her granddaughter.

  • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

A celebration a century in the making

Read an announcement about the party which family, friends and residents attended, “McDougal breaks all stereotypes of what it means to be 100 years old. Ida is young at heart, mind and body!”

“Vibrant, unique, fun, lively and an amazing dancer” were words that Solis-Cohen used to describe McDougal.

She continued by saying that she keeps up with current events and is so stylish that she never leaves her apartment unless she is well put-together.

On hand with more than 100 other people to celebrate the mother of three, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of two was McDougal’s oldest daughter Gail Reid.

Reid said her mother had three brothers and two sisters, met her husband Harry McDougal in Coatesville, was an Eastern Star and worked as a sales representative at Wanamaker’s department store for many years. McDougal also studied practical nursing.

Dance to the music

Since living at Wesley, McDougal has learned all the latest dance moves including the Cha Cha Slide.

The event was complete with birthday cake and an entertainer that sang several of McDougal’s favorite songs like “It Had to Be You” and “It’s Not Unusual” to the resident as they celebrated her birthday.

In addition to the group singing “Happy Birthday,” McDougal was also presented with a citation from the City of Philadelphia acknowledging her birthday and officially inducting her into the Centenarian Corps d’Elite.

“I am proud to know that I was acknowledged at 100,” said McDougal of the citation. “In fact, I don’t feel that I am 100.”

She said she didn’t even realize that her birthday would fall on the Inauguration Day, but that “it was an honor and privilege” to have turned out that way.

Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal