On June 2, my Grandma Lily Emery turns 105. A spry woman born the year the United States entered World War I, she’s still active, thanks be to God.

Currently, Grandma Lily is planning her birthday party. She’s gracefully emailing the ideal images of pink roses for the invitation, planning to serve her favorite foods and shopping at JC Penny’s with her daughter to get a new blouse and some pink pants for the gathering. She plans to get her hair done that morning.

Raised in Wyoming, Lily traveled west in 1943, having faith in God. She left family and friends and accompanied her husband Woodrow Emery with their two young children. Settling in sunny California, Lily and Woody traveled to Oregon for more than 25 years to visit their beloved grandchildren, their great grandchildren, niece, and niece’s family who were horse ranchers.

Woody’s faith was deep, having been raised a Catholic. Lily heard the depth of her husband’s love for God in his prayers and saw it in his moral conduct.

Grandpa was a man of God and also a family man who wanted to give his wife and children the best life possible. A blue collar coalminer and helicopter pilot, he eventually settled into real estate, earning more for his loved ones.

Grandma Lily was an amazing homemaker, loving and caring for her children and grandchildren for more than eight decades now. She is quite the baker, making sure always to have homemade chocolate chip cookies on hand for anyone who drops by.

As the matriarch and patriarch of our family, Grandma Lily and Grandpa Woody loved to travel, walk, listen to classical music and host big family gatherings. They almost made it to their 70th wedding anniversary, but Woody died in 2007. Grandma Lily and Grandpa Woody are still the quintessential family role models. The demonstrated how to live a long happy marriage, even when life threw them curveballs. Instead of losing their way, they prided themselves on working hard to be positive people always centered on God.

When asked about her faith, Grandma Lily says this: “I’ve had faith in God ever since I was a little girl. I went to Sunday school every week with my cousin Genevieve. I believe that God answers our prayers. I believe that he leads us in the right direction. I can see how God has guided my grandchildren in their lives, blessing them abundantly. Everything works out when we put our trust in God.”

Grandma Lily still has the love and prayers of her husband Woody in her heart now, as her family and friends celebrate her 105th birthday.

Etzel is a member of Immaculate Conception Parish in Stayton.