Windsor 95-year-old receives 116 birthday cards from across the nation

Published 4:42 pm Friday, January 12, 2024

A word-of-mouth campaign to surprise Thessieal Mae Liggins with 95 cards for her 95th birthday worked better than her daughters, Linda Stokes and Brenda Liggins, ever expected.

As of Jan. 5, 16 days after the elder Liggins’ Dec. 20 birthday, she’d received 116 cards, some from as far south as Florida and from as far north as New Jersey.

The sisters had pitched the idea to their friends, who then each shared it with their circles to create a ripple effect and “the cards just started coming in,” Stokes said. “They’re still coming.”

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Thessieal Mae, a lifelong resident of Windsor, is the last surviving of 13 siblings. Six years ago, she was named the “mother” of Shiloh Baptist Church, where she serves as a deacon and holds the record as its oldest parishioner.

“She goes every Sunday,” Stokes said, and can always be seen wearing a hat.

Stokes, Brenda and their siblings Edward, Calvin, Vanessa and Keith invited 50 people, 48 of whom were able to make it, for a luncheon at the Hilton Garden Inn in Suffolk on Dec. 23. Each guest received a hat pin. Guests included 18 nieces and nephews, three  inlaws, 12 grandchildren, two great-grandchildren, the Rev. Larry Simmons of Shiloh Baptist Church and his wife, Julia.

Thessieal Mae is a retired Isle of Wight County Schools custodian, where she worked for more than 20 years. She’s the mother of seven children, six of whom are still living, 17 grandchildren, 30 great grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.