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“Amazing Grace” to turn 109 next week

Grace Comer is about to celebrate a milestone few people ever achieve: She will turn 109 on Feb. 21.

To celebrate her long life, the staff at Trinity Place in Albemarle, where Grace resides, decided to ask the community to send birthday cards to Trinity in honor of Grace.

“I think she will be so pleased because she will know that she’s been acknowledged for her longevity as well as her life,” said Lucy Comer, her daughter-in-law.

On Feb. 7, Trinity Place sent out a Facebook message asking members of the community to help celebrate Comer’s big day.

“Please help us celebrate this special day by sending her a Birthday card,” the message read. “Our goal is to receive 109 Birthday cards. Please share and let’s see how many cards we can open for her on her 109th Birthday.”

Tracy Dean, who is the life enrichment assistant at Trinity, came up with the idea.

When Dean asked Comer what she wanted for her birthday, Comer said an Oldsmobile.

“That wasn’t too practical,” Dean said with a chuckle.

Dean hopes Comer “will be able to see the love everyone has for her with the mountain of cards.”

“I’m excited to see how many we get,” Dean said. “I hope to get over 109 cards.”

And members of the community are taking note of the Facebook message.

Ron Dry, pastor at Green Memorial United Methodist church in Aquadale, said he plans on having his Sunday school classes and youth group send Comer cards this Sunday. He also plans on personally sending a card.

Trinity is planning on having a birthday party for the residents to celebrate with Comer while her family will have a party two days after her birthday.

“That’s right,” Comer said when Lucy told her she doesn’t have a lot of company at age 109.

“Amazing Grace,” as the people at Trinity call her, was born in 1910 in Albemarle.

She was a hosiery mill worker looping socks and had three children, Patricia Morgan, Darrell Comer and Donald Comer.

Donald and his wife, Lucy, visit Comer about at least three times a week, they said.

A long life must be part of Comer’s genetics because her sister lived to be 102.

Lucy said she expects all of Comer’s family will also send in birthday cards.

She was living at home until she broke her femur at 104, Donald said. She spent a few years living at Spring Arbor before moving to Trinity, where she has resided for the last two years.

Though Comer is in a wheelchair and is the oldest person at Trinity, “she won’t stay in her room and she wheels herself around,” said Donald and Lucy.

She especially enjoys siting outside in the courtyard during the summer soaking up the sun and watching the birds and flowers, said Lisa Clayton, a social worker at Trinity.

Comer enjoys music, especially playing the piano, and the staff help her play bingo as well, Lucy said.

The staff at Spring Arbor called Comer the “Bingo Queen,” Donald said.

“She loved her bingo,” Lucy said. “She didn’t miss bingo games.”

Comer also loves pizza, especially supreme pan pizzas from Pizza Hut, said Lucy.

So what is Comer’s secret for a long life?

Eating onions and garlic, she said.

If people are interested in sending Grace Comer birthday cards, they can send them to: Tracy Dean at Trinity Place, 24724 S. U.S. Business 52, Albemarle, NC 28001.

About Chris Miller

Chris Miller has been with the SNAP since January 2019. He is a graduate of NC State and received his Master's in Journalism from the University of Maryland. He previously wrote for the Capital News Service in Annapolis, where many of his stories on immigration and culture were published in national papers via the AP wire.

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