Lillian Crofut VanFleet, of Jordan, turns 100 tomorrow, March 30. St. Patrick's Church, where she is a lifetime member, threw her a celebration following Sunday's 10 a.m. service.
"If they're gonna do this for me, I'll live another 100," Lillian said.
Father John DeLorenzo read a birthday proclamation made by the village of Jordan, where Mayor Dick Platten congratulated Lillian and named March 30, 2011, "Lillian Crofut VanFleet 'Lil' Day."
"'Lil' is dearly loved by her family for her unending devotion to teaching life skills and life lessons and her family wish to thank her for her loyalty to them and the community over the years," Father DeLorenzo read.
Lillian did not know that her daughter, Mary Catherine, would be waiting for her downstairs in the parish hall. Mary Catherine moved four years ago to Florida, where she teaches exceptional student education in a district near Orlando.
"She thinks I'm in Florida and I couldn't afford to come," Mary Catherine said. "I hope she'll be all right when she sees me!"
Mary Catherine said she talks to her mom every weekend.
"My mom was always there for me," she said. "My dad left when I was young, so my mother was always there. She never missed anything I was in."
Lillian was born in Syracuse, but her family moved to a house on Hamilton Road in Jordan when she was less than 1 year old. She continues to live in that house to this day with her nephew, Bill Crofut.
"She keeps telling everybody that if I weren't living with her she would not be able to stay there. That really is not true," he said. "Psychologically it's probably true, physically it is not ... her health is absolutely phenomenal."
Lillian is retired from Community General Hospital, where she was an EKG technician. She later became employed at the Jordan Diner, and worked as a cashier until she was 89.