109-year-old Relda Mackins celebrated Sunday, making it another year. The celebration took place at the Antioch AME Church.
Hank and I would like to wish a Happy 109th Birthday to @ItsInDeKalb’s oldest citizen, Ms. Relda Mackins. Today we joined the Antioch AME Church in celebration for this historic birthday! 🎂 Join is in wishing Ms. Mackins a 109th Birthday! 🥳 pic.twitter.com/00Q01LZXQo
— Mereda Davis Johnson (@meredadjohnson) August 7, 2022
Mackins recalled the details of her long life, eventually giving the secret of living a long life like her.
“Mama never drink, mama never smoked, in fact, I was going through pictures for the reunion, and I saw her with a glass, and she had a cigarette in one hand, and I asked, mama what was this about, and she said, ‘Yeah it was for the camera,'” Mackins’ 71-year-old daughter, Karen Green said.
In addition to not drinking or smoking, Mackins spent time riding her 35-year-old bike three times a day and walking on the treadmill.
When Green asked her mother how it felt to be 109 years old, Mackins responded with, “I guess it feels good; I’ve never been here before.”
Mackins was born in Jellico, Tennessee, on Aug. 7, 1913, a year after the Titanic tragedy. She lived long enough to see the presidents come in and out of office, from Wilson to now. Her parents raised her in Kentucky but then moved to Jackson, Michigan, where she met the love of her life. The two gave birth and raised their daughter Karen in Michigan.
Mackins lived a normal life. She owned her own beauty business from 1945 to 1975. She then retired from her beauty business at 61 years old and began volunteering at a hospital. From 1975 to 2005, she volunteered in the pediatrics department.
“After retirement, she went into volunteering because she couldn’t sit,” my dad would fish, my dd would hunt, and she just sat there and thought, ‘No, I’ve got to do something,'” Green said.
When Mackins reached 91, she and her husband moved from Michigan to Stone Mountain, Georgia, to be closer to their daughter in 2005. Two years later, Mackins’ husband died, prompting the centenarian to look to the comfort of her neighbors. Her daughter described her mother as helpful to the point where she gained the name Honey Bea because her middle name was Beatrice and, like a bee, she “buzzed” around looking for ways to help the neighbors.
“She kind of adopted everyone in the residence where they were staying, even though they were also her junior, by many years; a lot of them were like my age,” Green said.
Mackins didn’t let anything stop her from living. When she isn’t riding her bike or on the treadmill, she’s still on the move by traveling. Mackins has visited the Caribbean, parts of the United States, and Jerusalem, where she got baptized. On top of being on the move, she takes vitamins, medicine for her dementia, and baby aspirin.
Aside from the vitamins and constant movement, Mackins said that Jesus Christ (JC) is her reason for living.
“You have to ask J.C about that,” Mackiins said.
“She just says, ‘Ask JC because I don’t know why I’m here,’ and I say ‘because you’re an inspiration; He’s now inspiring people through you, and when he says okay, you’ve done it,’ it’s going to be time to go but until then just keep doing what you’re doing,” Green said about her mom.
The mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, aunt and great-aunt was blessed with three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
Following her birthday, the Atlanta Braves baseball team and White House plan to gift Mackins with signed birthday cards.