Vera Bettencourt celebrated her 103rd birthday on Sunday with family, friends, cake and classic cars.
The birthday event, held in the Paramount Court Senior Living parking lot, was the first time residents of the facility were able to gather together since the pandemic began over a year ago.
“I’m happy to see them wanting to get out,” said Paramount Court Marketing Director Joann Wright, who organized the outdoor and socially-distant event with local car clubs, including the Shining Star Car Club, Modesto Misfits and The Style Kings.
Fred and Melanie Janssens of Oakdale brought their 1951 Ford F1 pickup for the birthday car parade.
“It was a nice excuse to get out for a change and for a 103-year-old, why not?” said Fred Janssens.
Bettencourt watched the parade with her fellow Paramount Court residents under a tent in the facility’s parking lot along with her son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter and great granddaughter who traveled from Washington for the celebration.
Bettencourt, a Patterson resident until she moved to Turlock two years ago, said she “grew up on cornbread and beans” in her native state of Oklahoma. She remembered having to hand-wash clothes, as her family didn’t get a washing machine until she was 15.
Her advice for making it to over a century: “Eat the right food and stay off the liquor.”