Miss Lydia surprised for her 105th birthday
by Rachel Miller
September 11, 2013 12:12 AM | 2109 views | 0 0 comments | 21 21 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Lydia Campbell is applauded by her great-nephew, Thomas Green, and IHOP server Ashlee Montalbano as she’s surprised by 105 cupcakes for her birthday party. <br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
Lydia Campbell is applauded by her great-nephew, Thomas Green, and IHOP server Ashlee Montalbano as she’s surprised by 105 cupcakes for her birthday party.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
IHOP server Genny Beth McGuire smiles as Lydia make a wish and blows out her candles.<br>Staff/Kelly J. Huff
IHOP server Genny Beth McGuire smiles as Lydia make a wish and blows out her candles.
Staff/Kelly J. Huff
slideshow
Tuesday afternoon, Lydia Campbell walked into the IHOP off Cobb Parkway expecting to have her usual lunch, but instead was thrown a surprise party by employees for her 105th birthday.Campbell was given a dozen red and white roses, a card signed by each IHOP employee and 105 chocolate cupcakes for her birthday, which is Sunday.

“I’ve got a lot of living to do to live up to all this attention,” Campbell said.

Campbell comes every week with her nephew to IHOP to get pancakes topped with apples.

Patty DeOliveira, who waits on Campbell each week, said it has been a great experience serving her off and on for 30 years.

“I have learned so much by hearing her tell stories about growing up,” DeOliveira said.

Campbell, who was born and raised in Memphis, has been married five times, divorced twice, and has no children.

For her 103rd birthday, Campbell went back to Memphis to visit with old friends.

Campbell and her first husband George Graves, who died at age 56 after 27 years of marriage, owned a 300-acre farm with 100 cattle.

After Graves’ death, Campbell said she sold the farm but lost much of the money over the years to bad investments.

“Everybody said you have enough money for the rest of your life, but they didn’t know how long I would live,” Campbell said.

Family bond

Growing up a country girl on a farm, Campbell has fond memories of her family who attended church every Sunday.

Last year, Campbell played her mother’s favorite song, “What a Friend We Have in Jesus,” on the piano at Mount Olivet Baptist Church in Acworth on Mother’s Day.

The seventh of 10 children, Campbell is the only one of her siblings still alive.

When asked how she has managed to live so long, Campbell said, “It is the Lord’s will. I didn’t have anything to do with it.”

In 1996, Campbell moved to Kennesaw to live with her younger sister’s son, Thomas Green.

“It has been such a joy to have my nephew taking care of me,” Campbell said.

Campbell took care of Green when he was born so his mother, Ruby Green, could work. Green said his commitment to caring for Campbell is his way of paying her back.

“There have been ups and downs, but mostly ups,” Green said.

Green said his aunt wants to know everything that is going on, even if it means him repeating parts of a conversation loud enough so Campbell can hear.

“We have a lot of fun together,” Green said.

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