Melissa Walden, of Southern Pines, recently celebrated her 100th birthday. She was born in Georgia on Sept. 14, 1918. In her century of life, she has experienced firsthand events that many of us have only been able to read about in history — from horse-drawn buggies to automobiles, through the Great Depression, to seeing a man walk on the moon and witnessing an African-American man elected president of the United States.
Melissa lived most of her life in Florida, where she was a housekeeper — not only for different families, but she also helped raise a total of 15 children for the families she worked for. A couple of those children, now adults, have come back to see her!
She was married for 45 years to Jessie Walden, who died in 1985 They adopted their one and only child, a daughter, Sharon, at the age of 3 months.
She moved to Detroit after retiring to be near her daughter. In 2008, Melissa, along with daughter Sharon Walden Mention and son-in-law Michael Mention, moved to Southern Pines.
After a brief delay caused by Tropical Storm Florence, the First Baptist Church Southern Pines Senior Adult Ministry Committee hosted a birthday celebration in her honor, where proclamations from Southern Pines Mayor David McNeil and Gov. Roy Cooper were read and presented to Melissa.
“We are so blessed to have Melissa in our community, as a member of First Baptist Church Southern Pines, and enjoy her sweet smile and enthusiasm as she continues to enjoy life to the fullest!” says a spokesman.