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Celebrating a centenarian

A family greets Lenville Mays in a parade for his 100th birthday at Beulah Baptist Church in Proctorville on Saturday.

Dozens turn out in honor Proctorville man’s 100th birthday on New Year’s Day

ROME TOWNSHIP — They came from across the community, with their cars and trucks decorated with balloons, streamers and signs to celebrate on Jan. 1.

The occasion was not New Year’s Day, but instead to celebrate a bigger milestone.

Lenville Mays, of Proctorville, turned 100 years old on Saturday in his honor, the community hosted a birthday parade that afternoon.

Participants assembled on the lot of Fairland High School,before heading to Beulah Baptist Church, located at the intersection of County Road 411 and County Road 107, where Mays was waiting in a car to watch.

Cars circled the lot and Mays waved and blew kisses as passengers greeted him.

A drop off box was set up, where participants could leave him gifts, making the celebration socially-distanced and safe for the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lenville Mays poses for photos with his family following a parade for his 100th birthday at Beulah Baptist Church in Proctorville on Saturday.

“I’ve missed seeing him,” one woman said of the last year.

Mays, who was born in 1921 in Kentucky, has been a 61-year resident of Proctorville and a staple of the community.

“He has supported youth sports at Fairland for the last 50-plus years,” Susan Mays, his daughter, said.

Before the parade began, proclamations were read from U.S. Rep. Bill Johnson and State Rep. Jason Stephens.

Well wishers greet Lenville Mays during a parade for his 100th birthday at Beulah Baptist Church in Proctorville on Saturday.

Altogether, about 100 vehicles, led by a fire truck, took part in the parade, which, luckily, took place in a break from Saturday’s rain and enjoyed warm temperatures.

Toward the end of the procession, Mays got out and stood by his vehicle and waved at the last few cars.

Mays is a member of Beulah Baptist, where he is deacon emeritus and the only living member of the church’s former location.

Retired from Owens-Illinois Glass Company’s former factory in West Virginia, he and his late wife, Grace, had five children, Ron,

David, Susan, Sam and John, one grandson and two great-grandchildren, Oliver and Hamilton.

Lawrence County Clerk of Courts Mike Patterson drops off a gift for Lenville Mays at a parade honoring his 100th birthday at Beulah Baptist Church in Proctorville on Saturday.