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Knoxville woman celebrates 100th birthday with proclamation from the mayor

She's lived through the Great Depression, World War II, the Civil Rights era and now the COVID-19 pandemic. She says her faith always carries her through.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — Mary Elizabeth Goins is among the elite few to celebrate triple digits. 

Born in New Market, Tennessee in 1921, she's seen the world around her change, and it's her faith that's always carried her through good times and the bad. 

"I must say that the road hasn't been easy. I won't tell anybody that it's all been peaches and cream. It hasn't been, but my faith in the Lord has always brought me through," Goins said. 

Goins has a son, a daughter, several grandchildren, and recently a great-grandson who was born earlier this month. 

"Oh, I've had a wonderful life. A wonderful marriage. A wonderful life," Goins said. 

She was married to her husband for 64 years before he passed away and she retired from a long career at Sears. 

"I was the maid there for 10 years," Goins said. "[Then] they started hiring Blacks as salespeople, so I went to work in the linen department for 15 years." 

She said the secret to turning 100 is faith in God and love of family. 

"Part of the reason she is still here, too, is she wants to be here. She has that determination. As my brother said, she's a busy body," her daughter, Brenda Harrison, said. 

Goins doesn't let age stop her from doing the things she enjoys like playing bridge, crocheting and watching sports. 

Knoxville Mayor Indya Kincannon signed a proclamation in Goin's honor.

While she won't be celebrating the big 1-0-0 with a large party like they had hoped, one of the greatest gifts she received this year is the COVID-19 vaccine, so hopefully, the family can be together again for year 101.