BY JAMES FARRELL
Corrine Johnson, a resident at the Holliswood Center for Rehabilitation and Healthcare, was in bright spirits on Friday morning, dancing to Stevie Wonder and singing from her wheelchair to celebrate her birthday. On Saturday, she turns a spry 104 years old.
Johnson was surrounded by children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in the dining room of the Holliswood Center as staff members brought out a cake and other treats to commemorate another year in a long life filled with a loving family and a deep love for the church.
An ordained minister since 1995, Johnson spent the day doing what she loves to do most—singing and “talking about the Lord.” She performed a gospel classic, “The Lord Makes Me Feel So Good,” as the room fell silent to listen.
“I love everyone,” she told the Queens Tribune. “I’m happy to see everyone.”
Her family was all smiles as they recounted growing up with Johnson. Lakisha Robinson, Johnson’s great granddaughter, grew up in the same house as Johnson, along with Robinson’s mother and grandmother. She remembers taking trips to the Empire State Building with Johnson and eating Johnson’s cornbread and buttermilk.
“Always singing,” Robinson said with a smile.
But Johnson’s family agrees—her devotion to the church and to her religion is one of her most endearing qualities.
“She’s the reason that I went back to church,” said Zelda Johnson, Corrine’s granddaughter who came out from Ohio to celebrate.
Zevi Lipschitz, administrator for the Holliswood Center, was also on hand to celebrate. He said that it was important to commemorate big birthdays like Johnson’s.
“You have peole that are here that are looking to work toward getting somewhere and sometimes it’s difficult to maintain a positive attitude,” Lipschitz said. “You look at her and she’s dancing at her 104th birthday party, it just provides so much inspiration.”
Reach James Farrell at (718) 357-7400 x 127, firstname.lastname@example.org or @farrellj329.