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Love and faith carry Hubbard-Wright to 103
Willie Mae Hubbard-Wright
Willie Mae Hubbard-Wright

Willie Mae Hubbard-Wright was born in Freedman Grove on Nov. 4, 1918, seven days before the unofficial end of World War I.

She will celebrate her 103rd birthday tomorrow.

Hubbard-Wright’s father, Willie Hubbard, served in World War II.

He and Lillian Jackson-Hubbard and their young family grew up in Freedman Grove, though Hubbard-Wright would be raised by her grandmother, Jenny Hubbard, after her mother died when she was 3.

Hubbard-Wright’s grandfather, the Rev.

Luther Hubbard, was born in New York and fought his way south with the Union Army in the Civil War. He then went to college in Pennsylvania and later came back to pastor Saint Stephens in Walthourville, Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Freedman’s Grove, Butler’s Presbyterian Church in Savannah and others and is mentioned in a number of historical accounts of the era.

Growing up Willie Mae Hubbard-Wright was a proud member of Ebenezer Presbyterian Church in Freedman’s Grove.

That history remained important to Hubbard-Wright, who started school at the Freedman Grove School and then went to Dorchester Academy. She still has her grammar school diploma from 1936, kept it tucked way safely in a safety deposit box so that now, more than 80 years later, it’s in remarkably good shape.

After grammar school, Hubbard-Wright became a boarder at Dorchester, where she learned to sew.

That gift stayed with her through the years. She made clothes for her children, her grandchildren and friends who admired her talent.

She also got married to Robert Wright. They had four children — Arletha Mae, Ronald, Cartell and Joyce — before moving north to Philadelphia, where a fifth child was born, Madeline. Along the way, Hubbard-Wright survived breast cancer and outlived diabetes.

And over the decades, as they made a life in Philadelphia, Liberty County remained home, with ties to the county that go back to the 1800s.

Ronald Wright sold his car repair business in Philadelphia in 1989 and moved back here. When Hubbard-Wright’s husband died in 2006, she wanted to come back home, and “she and her children returned to Liberty County and made Midway their home place,” and “became acquainted or reacquainted with family members in Freedman Grove and adjoining communities,” according to a birthday program Wright-Kennedy put together, two years ago.

“She gives love, she cares,” her children said.

“How thankful we are that her beautiful motherly love came from above.”

Happy birthday from Joyce Wright-Kennedy, Ronald Wright and Arletha Mae Wright.

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