Sykes celebrates 100 years of life

Published 4:15 pm Wednesday, March 23, 2016

Susan Oliver Sykes, of Randolph, recently celebrated her 100th birthday and received special recognition from President Barack Obama and Virginia State Sen. Frank Ruff.

Special greetings from The White House are sent out to citizens to commemorate memorable events such as birthdays and anniversaries. However, these special recognitions are only given to individuals 80 or older, according to the White House.

“We are pleased to join your family and friends in wishing you a happy 100th birthday,” stated a letter from the White House to Sykes. “As you celebrate this extraordinary milestone, we hope you reflect on the many memories you have made over the past century. Your generation has shown the courage to persevere through depression and war, and the vision to broaden our liberties through changing times. We are grateful for your contributions to the American story, and we wish you all the best for the coming year.”

According to Audrey Robertson, Sykes’ niece, she was born in Boydton on Feb. 23, 1916 to Thomas and Carrie Thower Oliver.

At 15 years old, Sykes moved to New Jersey to find a job and help support her family.

A letter from Ruff to Sykes stated, “I am writing to wish you a very happy 100th birthday. I hope your day was filled with sunshine and smiles, laughter, love and happy memories. My hope is you will know how special you are and how loved you are by many people on this auspicious day.”

Robertson said Sykes spent her special day with a surprise 100th birthday celebration at Sheldon’s Restaurant and with friends and family from as far as New Jersey.

According to a 2010 report by the U.S. Census Bureau, “Centenarians, or people aged 100 or older, are both rare and distinct from the rest of the older population.”

The report said the average number of Centenarians in the United States had increased from 50,454 in 2000 to 53,364 in 2010.