Georgetown native Rebecca Izard celebrates 100 years

  • Friday, March 14, 2014

Lloyd Mackall/For The Times Rebecca Gardner Izard celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends recently. From left are daughter Eva I. Glover, Izard, daughter Marilyn Sumpter, and Maggie Rutledge Dozier.

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Celebrating her 100th birthday recently with family and friends, Georgetown native Rebecca Gardner Izard had some advice.

“Take care of yourself, say your prayers and treat people as you want to be treated,” she said after being asked for suggestions “for the rest of us.”

Hearing local, state and national tributes, more than 350 people honored Mrs. Izard at a birthday party March 1 in the thoroughly decorated gym—featuring black with a touch of red and shiny silver hangings throughout the Beck Recreation Center. The head tables were covered with a black tablecloth sprinkled with diamonds and highlighted on the front side with the glow of tiny white lights.

Family photos were everywhere, including large images of the birthday “Queen,” and some smaller shots hung with clothes pins on a clothes line hanging on the right side, “symbolizing her love for hanging clothes on a line in the back yard.”

This is a woman who is alert, has a good memory and just started walking with a cane, according to Donald Gilliard. “When you talk with her you might think she is just 60 years old,” he said of the lady who once heard Dr. Martin Luther King speak at daughter Marilyn I. Sumpter’s Tuskegee University graduation.

Birthday greetings came from President Barack and Michelle Obama, Lindsey Graham, SC Governor Nikki Haley, and other government officials, including Carl Anderson, SC State House District 103, who brought a proclamation with her photo on it.

March 1, 2014 was proclaimed “Rebecca Izard Day” by Georgetown City Council, Georgetown Mayor Jack Scoville, and Governor Nikki Haley. The President and First Lady sent a card of congratulations for reaching such a milestone in her life.

Her children attending the birthday party were Marilyn (Fred) Sumpter Sr and Eva I. Glover.

Some of those participating in the ceremonies include Pastor Jesse Sanders Jr., Mayor Scoville, Rep. Carl Anderson, Keiona Matthews and Rev. Barbara Nelson. Maya Frazier, Neosha Greene and Nia Walker all sang tributes.

Also rendering musical selections were Debra Burgess and Muryel Sumpter. Grandchildren, great grandchildren and others also sang songs, read poems and gave tributes.

Lighting a candle was Tyler Winns, while his sister, Taylor Winns, spoke a poetic tribute to commemorate “immediate family members who went home early to be with the Lord.”

After the singing of “Happy Birthday,” the honoree, Rebecca Izard, gave a verbal response, “When you fall, just get back up,” she said. “But don’t keep falling.”

Her primary nickname was “Mof,” but she was called many other names such as Aunt Sugar, Auntie Beka Queen, Sugar, Polly, Mother, Boss Lady, Woman of God and The Greatest Phenomenal Woman of God.”

Mrs. Izard was born March 1, 1914, in Georgetown to Cuffie Gardner and Donella Brown. The home in which she presently resides on Merriman Road is less than two blocks from where she was born and reared. She joined Arnett African Methodist Episcopal Church at an early age, and she is known for her hard work and dedication.

She serves as president of the Rutledge-Graham Stewardess Board.

As an example to her grandchildren and after more than a half century, Mrs. Izard returned to school and earned her diploma from Howard High School in 1971.

Monday, March 3, 2014 was “Ada Thompson Day” in honor of a Pawleys Island resident who also is celebrating her 100-year birthday. Georgetown resident Mercedes Munnerlyn led the effort to obtain biographical information for these two ladies.

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