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Miss Willies big day
shaking hands
Willie Tebeau and her children greeted the dozens of well-wishers. - photo by Photo by Rick Lott

Mrs. Willie Tebeau celebrated her 100th birthday in style Sunday as more than 150 friends and family stopped by the Trinity Lutheran Church in Springfield to greet her and wish her “many more.”

Guests filed into the church social hall to shake hands with Miss Willie and her 72-year-old son John and daughter, Lee Ellen. Guests signed a guestbook by the door and left birthday cards for her on the table.

When asked if she had seen a change in people during her 100 years, she replied, “Yes, the way they dress.”

She was not impressed by the more casual style of dress adopted in recent years. She also decried modern manners.

“I can’t get used to everybody calling everybody by their first name,” she said. “When we grew up, you said Mr. and Mrs. Now you have 10-year-olds calling 85-year-olds Mary and John.”

Tebeau attributed her long life to trying to live healthy, exercise and proper food.

“Eat your veggies,” she said. “Exercise, and watch your weight. I’ve watched mine all my life.

Family members said that even though the receiving line was long, Miss Willie was really enjoying seeing everyone there. One family member said that there were about 50 members present, representing just their branch of the family.

“I’ve enjoyed living,” she said. “I’ve enjoyed watching the young folks grow up and amount to something. It’s good to see local folks make good. There’s a lot of local folks who have made their way.”