A 100th birthday is special, even if it comes during a pandemic, so the family of Mary Barry have planned a way to celebrate her special day. Mary turns 100 on April 2, and her friends, family and church members are invited to help her celebrate this auspicious occasion at a drive by birthday party at Tabernacle Bible, 1817 N. Volutsia, Wichita. The party will be on Sat., April 3, at 3:30 p.m.

Individuals who want to stop by and share well wishes are asked to enter the parking lot east of the church off 17th Street, proceed through the lot to Volutsia, then turn left towards 17th Street. Mary will be sitting in front of the church.

Her grandchildren will be handing out snacks. Individuals who would like to stop and visit are asked to park in the lot north of the church. It’s okay to stop and visit, Mary has had both of her COVID-19 shots.

Mary was born in Houston, TX but spent most of the first three-quarters of her life living in rural Central Oklahoma. Her parents were farmers and she was expected to work the fields. She attended school, but left school when she married, as was often the custom back then, at a relatively young age.

She would take in wash and ironing, and work the fields for people to help make extra money. However, most of her life focused around being a wife, a homemaker and a mother. She outlived three husbands. Mr. Holloway, Mr. Flowers and her final husband Mr. Barry. She spent 35 years with Mr. Flowers until his death and 15 years with Mr. Barry. She was blessed with two wonderful children, her son Leonard (wife Genevia) and her daughter Pearline Thomas, who lives in New Haven, CT.

Mr. Barry worked for the WPA and during their marriage she lived on the outskirts of Weleetka, OK, a relatively large country town with a population of about 2000. She kept busy raising her children and the neighbor’s children. Mr. Barry was a farmer, and she gladly joined him on the farm and assisted as a good farm wife could.

As a young child, her grandmother taught her to sew, and she’s been sewing ever since. She made and altered clothes, but quilts were her specialty, always made by hand and with love.

After Mr. Barry’s death, she moved to Wichita to be closer to her son and his family. It’s a transition, Mary says she’s enjoyed.

“There’s so much to see and do,” said Mary about her last quarter life experience. “It’s just been pretty fun”. The Holloways have been long time members of Tabernacle Bible Church and Mary joined right in, with most of her life since 1993 revolving around family and church. For a long time, she’s been active in Bible Study and a Mission Group, but COVID-19 and age have brought all of that to a stop.

That’s another thing that will make this birthday celebration extra special. Mary has been away from a lot of her church family and friends for nearly a year. She’s excited about seeing them all again as she celebrates her special day.

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