Brawner celebrates 80th birthday with party, friends

Published 12:00 am Saturday, February 19, 2011

An 80th birthday bash for Merilee Brawner was recently hosted by her family, and all had a glorious good time.

With more than 150 friends and family in attendance, Brawner celebrated in grand style at the fellowship hall of her church, Bethany Baptist Church.

The fellowship hall was transformed into a beautiful party room, lit by candlelight and soft white lights on indoor trees. Red and white colors accented the room with elegant tablecloths, roses and candles on every table. Big Band music played softly in the background, setting the festive mood.

Merilee Brawner (above) recently celebrated her 80th birthday with family and friends. | Courtesy photo

Upon entering the hall, guests were invited to drop their cards into a beautifully decorated basket at the entrance table and then move forward to the photo table to view photos of Brawner throughout the ages. Next, the guest sign-in table featured Ashton, Hayden and Rachel, three of Brawner’s granddaughters, taking turns overseeing registration and welcoming guests.

The two-tier birthday cake was the focal point of the serving table flanked by beautiful silver candelabras. Her cake featured white icing with elegant red roses and an inscription of “Happy 80th Birthday.” Dozens of red and white roses were given to her by each of her three sons and used to accent all of the tables including the serving table offsetting the crystal punch bowl. The menu included delicious finger foods of cheese wafers, sausage balls, chicken salad in pastry, fresh fruit, nuts, cheese ball with crackers, cocktail wieners with spicy mustard sauce, mints, punch and coffee.

Brawner’s only grandson, Zack, age 14, played “Happy Birthday” on his electric guitar for the crowd to sing as she sat on the stage beside him. She spoke of her appreciation for everyone coming to help her celebrate and that she wished everyone to be in as great of health at 80 as she is enjoying. Each of her sons took a moment to say a few words of love, fun and enjoyment of growing up with her.

Family and friends traveled from far and wide for this celebration. Her eldest son, Mike, came from Houston. Her middle son and family, Tim, Dawn and girls, Ashton and Hayden, drove from Dothan. Her youngest son and family, Chris, René and children, Zack and Rachel, drove from Navarre, Fla. Her nephew and his wife, Judson and Dee Jordan, came from Myrtle Beach, S.C., and her niece and husband, Linda and Wayne Mulkey drove from Atlanta. A total of 21 cousins and spouses also came to celebrate

The family would like to extend a special thank you to the following: Catering and cake provided by Glenda Winters with Helen Roundtree assisting. Ferns and greenery provided by Howell Nursery. Myra Maddox and Tori Shirey assisted with decorating the fellowship hall.