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Telfair County woman celebrates milestone 100th birthday

Christine Coates Whitten has 9 children, 23 grandkids, 23 great-grandkids, and 28 great-great-grandkids!

TELFAIR COUNTY, Ga. — A Telfair County woman is celebrating a milestone birthday on Thursday.

Christine Coates Whitten is marking her 100th birthday on Aug. 6. She was born in Helena, Georgia in 1920.

Whitten's daughter, Evelyn Claude, says Whitten has always been central to the family.

"We depended more on momma," Claude said.

Claude says Whitten has 9 children, 23 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren, and 28 great-great-grandchildren.

"When we get together at family reunions and things, she's sort of like the center that keeps us all together," she said.

Whitten worked at Telfair County Hospital as a cook for years and retired at 60-years-old, Claude says.

Growing up, she remembers her mother cooking food for others often.

"She used to cook for, when I say 'the neighborhood,' you know in those days you prepared food and you sent it to your neighbor because they may have been ill or just because they needed a little love," Claude said.

Claude says Whitten lives with her in Bonaire now and has dementia, but she is still concerned about her family. 

"She was always a giver and God has allowed her to live these 100 years," Claude said.

The family originally planned to have a large gathering in Albany to commemorate her centennial, but COVID-19 caused them to shift gears.

Claude says she's taking Whitten to Telfair County on the day of her birthday so she can see the house she grew up in and reminisce. Then, a few family members will have a small gathering on Saturday to celebrate with cake.

"I don't know how long my momma is going to be with us, but for her to live to be 100-years-old, it's a blessing," Claude said. 

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