Family celebrates what would have been grandmother’s 105th birthday

By Lee Peck

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    MOBILE, Alabama (WALA) -- A bittersweet celebration for a local family -- celebrating what would have been their grandmother’s 105th birthday. FOX 10 News has been there for the past 3 years -- and were there Saturday as the celebration of life continued on this Mother’s Day weekend.

Like they’ve done so many times before -- Ashley Jones and Stephanie James are getting their crew together to celebrate the family’s matriarch. But for the first time in 104 years -- Viola Battles is not here for the party -- passing away August 25, 2021. She would have been 105 years old today.

“We miss her smile -- her laugh. How she loved. She just loved everybody,” said Jones.

FOX 10 first met Mrs. Viola three years ago on her 102nd birthday. Raising her granddaughters and great grands -- she told us then she was blessed.

“God saw fit that I’m asking him for some more years.... he’s going to give me some more. I wanna go past... I might to 110 years old,” said Mrs. Viola on her 102 birthday.

Then came the pandemic -- COVID not stopping her 103rd celebration. They like so many others -- improvised with a drive-by birthday.

She certainly stayed active until the end -- even going to Disney World last year. There are so many memories and life lessons they’re holding close.

“She didn’t have a mean bone in her body and she always taught us no matter how bad people treat you -- always love them. Love your enemy,” recalled Jones.

So on this Mother’s Day weekend they smile and remember with a purple and silver balloon release. And even though some of the balloons didn’t go far -- they believe it’s a sign.

“We think she’s here. She’s here. She’s here with us. Here in spirit,” said Jones.

And good genes run in the family -- Mrs. Viola had a brother who lived to be 102, a sister 104, and her grandmother 105.

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