She waited 104 years for this birthday Present - | Lufkin and Nacogdoches, Texas

She waited 104 years for this birthday Present


A century ago a lot of people still used horses to get around, and that's the era when Janette Gillespie was born. Janette turned 104 today, and the city of Whitehouse made sure she got her birthday wish.

We had to find out what that wish was.

Janette Gillespie has seen a few changes in her 104 years. She remembers a lot of things like riding in her dad's Ford and plenty of picnics with her five sisters.

Today Shanna Kennedy of Oakbrook Healthcare in Whitehouse got the party started with a poem written for Janette by her mother in 1970.

"In the town of Dalhart, Texas, one cold Sunday morn, to Mr. and Mrs. Eugene Holmes a daughter was born. As they had three girls they had hoped for a boy, but she proved to be a blessing and a joy," Kennedy read.

Janette grew up, was married and had a family of her own, eventually teaching at Lon Morris College in Jacksonville. She had three children and,

"Six grandchildren, twelve great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren," Kennedy explained.

Including little Hannah Denman who Janette met for the first time at her birthday party.

The Whitehouse Mayor, John Hogden, proclaimed it Janette Gillespie day.

"Happy birthday, Mrs. Gillespie," everyone said.

And her birthday wish? Well, her fire-truck shaped cake was a pretty good clue. She's always wanted to ride in a fire truck, so the Whitehouse Fire Department decided she had waited long enough.

During her youth many fire departments used something that was maybe two horsepower, like the fire wagon used in Tyler which was at least six years old when she was born. She got to ride in something with a little more power than that.

The mayor did mention that if there was a fire it was covered. Janette would need a little more training before she could volunteer.

Janette Gillespie has been at Oakbrook since she was 101. Her kids say she lived on her own much longer than they expected. Janette says she owes her long life to staying away from tobacco and eating right.

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