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102 years old and still celebrating
Dolly Mae Hines Hargrove
Dolly Mae Hines Hargrove

Another memorable birthday — another great celebration.

On May 28, 2022, it was time to celebrate the matriarch of the Hines and Hargrove families. It was not just another birthday celebration, but the momentous celebration of a young lady who has been blessed to see 102 years. Yes, on May 28, Dolly Mae Hines Hargrove (formerly of Long Reach in the Riceboro community) celebrated her birthday.

Family and friends gathered via Zoom from the comfort of their homes, some as far away as the West Indies, the UK, Connecticut and Martha’s Vineyard. Mother Dolly looked beautiful with her radiant smile, white attire and purple corsage. It was certainly a time of reflection, remembrance, renewal, laughs and great fellowship as the queen of the Hines and Hargrove families was honored.

Her granddaughter Serena Hargrove served as the presider.

“It’s a blessing that Grandma is still in her right mind and can still live in her house,” she said.

This grand celebration kicked off with a song, “You Can’t Beat God’s Giving” by Billy Preston. The Scripture for the occasion was Psalm 91:16. Mother Dolly’s pastor, Rev. Dr. Joe McNeil, who is the pastor of Trinity Missionary Baptist Church in Goose Creek, South Carolina, did the opening prayer.

“When I first came to Trinity, she was 80 years old. Today she is 102,” he said.

Before becoming a double amputee, Mother Dolly was an active church member.

Various family members expressed their love and appreciation for this remarkable young lady and noted how she has impacted their lives. Her niece Nettie Hargrove read a beautiful tribute to her aunt.

“Aunt Dolly has laid out the map on how to accomplish a long and good life,” she said. “First, find a spouse who is yoked as you are and share the same family goals, and have a plan for what you both want to achieve. She found a perfect match in my Uncle Johnny. I believe it is her faith, love for God, and a loving family who rallies around her that helps keep her going.”

Her daughter-in-love Barbara Hargrove presented her with a beautiful bouquet of purple and white flowers fit for a queen.

“You are royalty; you represent this family,” she said. “I also have a red and white bouquet. The white represents purity, and red represents the blood of Jesus Christ. We love you, Mom.”

George Hargrove, Mother Dolly’s son, read the Official Birthday Correspondence from President Joseph R. Biden: “I am delighted to wish you a happy 102nd birthday. I hope you enjoy your celebration, reflecting on the cherished memories you have made throughout your life. Your strength and perseverance have helped shape this Nation into what it is today and define what it means to be a member of the Greatest Generation. This milestone serves as an inspiration to your fellow Americans. I feel honored to celebrate this memorable occasion with you and send you my best wishes for all your days to come.”

George Hargrove said he tried to find a birthday card that said “Happy 102nd Birthday,” but they only go to 100, so he had to use a sharpie to write in the “2.”

After the singing of “Happy Birthday,” the honoree said, “Thank you all; thank you all. May God bless you.”

Born on May 28, 1920, in Liberty County, Dollie Mae Hines Hargrove has experienced many things. When she was born in 1920, the cost of a gallon of gasoline was only 30 cents, and you could buy a new Chevrolet for a mere $525 ( Times have certainly changed. She is the only living child of the late Simon and Sarah Hines. Her 12 siblings — five brothers and seven sisters — are deceased, though longevity runs in her family: One of her sisters, Mary Hines Brown, also lived to see the ripe old age of 102.

She and her family were members of First Zion Baptist Church in Riceboro. Dolly Hines graduated as valedictorian from the Liberty County School System. On October 19, 1943, she married Johnnie Hargrove Sr., of Riceboro. He was an Army WWII veteran, and they were blessed with nine children. In the early 1950s, they settled in Goose Creek, South Carolina.

Mother Dolly’s daughter Johnnie Mae Keyes said she is blessed to still have her mother.

“Although she sleeps a lot during the day, I don’t worry. At first, it worried me a lot, and I would call the EMS; however, one of the EMT drivers told me to stop worrying. This was when she was 96. He told me that if she wanted to sleep, let her sleep,” she said. “Now, Mom sleeps all day every three or four days, but I don’t worry. She is not complaining, and I cherish the time I have with her.”

Throughout the program, family members talked about Mother Dolly’s beautiful smile and the love she has for her family. Despite being a double amputee, she continues to be strong and shows her smile, which she displayed constantly during the celebration.

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