LAKE HARBOR – Bertha Baity celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 3, 2018, and said she feels very well, considering that she is 100. She credits her long life to the Lord. “The Lord let me live this long, and I’m the only one left of my family,” she said. Her mother, Matty Robertson, and father, John Pierce, had five children, four girls and one boy, but “I’m the only one left now,” she explained.
Ms. Baity was born in Marion, S.C. and always enjoyed playing and working outdoors. She said her favorite toys as a child were balls and marbles. She also remembers playing jacks, but they were called Jackstones back then.
She said that two of her sisters did some inside work, but she always worked outside. “I was a farmer,” she said. “I liked working in my garden.” She worked cane fields and celery, and before she moved from the Carolinas, she said she worked in the tobacco and cotton fields.
She did do some indoor things, though. She enjoyed knitting, and her daughter Autherine said she remembers her mom knitting little dresses for her girls to wear, and no one made a better pie than Ms. Bertha Baity! Ms. Baity said that’s one bad thing about getting older — she doesn’t get to spend much time outside anymore.
Ms. Baity married her first husband, Richard Stukes, in 1937, but he passed away, and she married Freddy Baity in 1941. They moved to Southshore, Fla., in 1941, she said. “We came down here on the train. It used to be like a small city.”
She has five children — Ferlece Major, Autherine Small, Alma Jean Jones, Zelma Baity and Jerry Taylor. She raised her family in Lake Harbor, a tiny community in far western Palm Beach County. She had 16 grandchildren, but one has passed away. She has 19 great-grand children and one on the way.
The family celebrated Ms. Baity’s 100th birthday at the Mount Olive Missionary Baptist Church, where she has been a member for over 25 years. Every year the family has a reunion attended by every relative who can possibly make it, and they always design a special T-shirt for the occasion. This year they did the same for the birthday celebration.
Happy belated birthday, Ms. Baity!