Woman turns 106

Marguirette Levere isn't even 5 feet tall and weighs just 79 pounds, but this tiny woman just celebrated a huge birthday.

The lifelong resident of Long Green, who now lives with family in Sparks, turned 106 on Sept. 14.

She and her husband, John, who died in 1989, had nine children, 33 grandchildren, 92 great-grandchildren and 37 great-great-grandchildren.

"I don't hurt, I don't wear glasses and when I wake up, I know that means I'm still here," she said last week from her favorite chair in Joan and Robert Powell's living room.

Joan Powell is the youngest of the Levere children. She and sisters Julia Johnson and Flora Gregg, as well as niece Sylvia Hughes, help care for her mother. Her brothers, Paul and David Levere, live in and maintain Marguirette's house in Long Green.

But even at 106, Marguirette continues to help the family tend to her daughter Barbara, 77, who has cerebral palsy, is bed-ridden and lives at the Powells' Sparks house.

Marguirette attributes her longevity to never drinking and always eating three meals a day, including dessert, on time.

"She always said she's lived so long because she never wanted to be with old people. She only wanted to hang out with young people," Joan Powell said. "She doesn't even take any medicine. None."

Marguirette was born in 1905 in Long Green. She wrote about her life in "North County," a 2002 book by Louis Diggs' about the area's black communities.

She attended a one-room school for black children on Kanes Road until eighth-grade. She then lived with an aunt in Baltimore and went to Douglass High School for two years, where she met her husband.

They married when she was 18 and moved to Kanes Road. Most of their children were born in a house that had no running water and no indoor bathroom facilities.

She and John both worked for the Kane family. She was a cook and he worked on the farm, cared for the horses and was the family chauffeur.

The family attended Mt. Zion A.M.E Church in Long Green, where she was a choir member.

"No matter how hard all of the families worked in this area, on Sundays they always made it to the little church out in the field on Manor Road where all of the families would come together to praise and thank God," she wrote in the 2002 book.

Her family said she still loves to sing hymns from her younger days.

She recited the first few words of one of her favorites just last week.

The whole stanza of "He'll Understand and Say Well Done," goes like this:

"When I come to the end of my journey. Weary of life and the battle is won. Carrying the staff and the cross of redemption. He'll understand and say well done."

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