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98 year old birthday girl: ‘Key to long life is happiness and family’

Despite celebrating her 98th birthday in quarantine on Tuesday, Andalusia local Helen King’s family made sure to make it a special one.

While she was in the backyard on Monday, her family decorated her front yard with a sign wishing her a happy birthday.

“It has been sad to have this birthday during the pandemic,” King said. “Without seeing people or going to church, it has been hard. It was very nice this morning though, when I go outside and see a bunch of golf carts with people waving and the sign. We have a program at the Presbyterian Church called Love Thy Neighbor where we provide food to people. It was actually on my birthday today and when they finished passing out food they came in cars, blew their horns and had letters on their cars that said happy birthday. It was still a wonderful birthday.”

King said she is concerned about the virus because she has never seen anything like it.

“You just wonder,” King said. “I am aped with my heart condition and my age. So, I need to be cautious. My usual routine is that I would go to a bible study and church and then on Fridays I would go to the beauty shop and to lunch with a group of other women. I have missed them greatly now that I can’t go out. I just love the church and I love my Friday friends, but we make sure to keep in touch.”

Over the past 98 years, King said some highlights were her childhood and marrying her husband, Dr. William G. King, in April of 1946.

“I had a wonderful family,” King said. “I walked to school and walked home for lunch. I met my husband at my best friend’s wedding and he was just out of the Navy. His best friend from Luverne married my best friend from Springville, Ala. In five months, we were married.”

More recent highlights of her life are of her family. She has three children, Kathy, Bill and Frank, several grandchildren and several great-grandchildren.

“I have three wonderful children,” King said. “We have loved Andalusia. It has been a wonderful place to live. We have lived in the same home since 1959.”

Some advice that she gives to the younger generation would be to live each day to the best that they can do.

“Get up, get dressed and move,” King said. “I am still doing that to this day.”

The secret to her long life, she said, is happiness.

“Read your bible,” King said. “The other thing is family. Make sure you have as much family over as possible. When I had all of my family living with me, I would always set up an extra table because you never know when somebody could come and want to spend time with you. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my family.”

King was a dedicated volunteer for Meals on Wheels, the Interse Club, the La Flora Garden Club and the Pine Hills Club. She also served as Den Mother to the Cub Scouts and countless other duties associated with her children and grandchildren’s educational and social activities. King also supported her husband’s work with the Andalusia Kiwanis Club for many years, serving faithfully with the concessions each year at the Covington County Fair.