Huntersville resident reaches 102 and counting

Mary Jane Hastings was the center of attention at the celebration of her 102nd birthday.  /Lindsay Krone

HUNTERSVILLE – What’s the secret to living past 100? According to Mary Jane Hastings, it’s simply a matter of showing up.

“It wasn’t my big accomplishment; I just happen to be there!” she said.

Hastings turned 102 on May 7. Arbor Ridge at Huntersville held a party in her honor with dozens of family members and friends from the retirement community in attendance.

With two of her children steadying her, Hastings was able to blow out the candles on a huge sheet cake emblazoned with her photo. Arbor Ridge staff served guests champagne, punch, ice cream, sheet cake and Hastings’s specially requested carrot cake.

Sporting a white boa and a tiara placed atop her head by her daughter, Hastings was humble about all the attention. She said she didn’t understand what all the fuss was about, but liked the celebration.

“I’m enjoying every minute of it,” she said.

Hastings has eight children (one of whom shares her birthday), 29 grandchildren and 32 great-grandchildren. She said her husband died 32 years ago, but she believes a reason she has lived so long is her children say they still need her.

“I don’t know what I did right, but there’s some good I did,” Hastings said. “I have lots of people who love me.”

The event was especially joyous after two years in the COVID-19 pandemic, which claimed the life of her last living sibling at the age of 99. Members of Hastings’ family said the party was the happiest they had seen her in years.

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