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February 24, 2013

Norman resident celebrates 103rd birthday

NORMAN — Jerri Melton was born on Feb. 15, 1910, but she said she always loves to celebrate her birthday on Valentine’s Day instead because “It’s more fun.”

The Valentine’s Day celebration at Grace Living Center Norman, where Melton has lived for the past eight years, also included a birthday cake.

Melton remembers she was born in Center, Okla., a town that doesn’t exist anymore. She was the youngest of eight children, graduating from high school in Ada when she was 16 and from college just two years later.   

She and her late husband were married for 53 years. They had one child, Marilyn Foster.

“She’s sweet and caring,” said Foster. “She was very active her whole life and remains active today. She loves the Zumba class at Grace and does the whole 50 minutes.”

At the center of Melton’s life is her Christian faith. Melton remembers that she was saved when she was 13 and has devoted herself to the Lord ever since. She taught classes at several churches. She credits her trust in God for her ability to stay upbeat, to avoid depression and to face challenges in life.

Her daughter remembers a day when she and her mother were on a walk. A snake crossed their path. Foster said most would have been frightened, but she’ll never forget how her mother remained calm and simply said, “Let’s wait and let it go by.”

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