On December 12, 2007, Wilmington resident Isabelle McGowan will turn 100 years old -- and she's loving every minute of it. "Marvelous!" said Mrs. McGowan when asked how it felt to hit triple digits. On Saturday, more than 300 friends and family members gathered at the Scottish Rite temple in Wilmington for Mrs. McGowan's centennial celebration. "She knows so many, many people and she taught so many, many people and she wanted them all to be a part and of course they wanted to be a part," said Jessye Lofton, Mrs. McGowan's daughter and only child. Born in Castle Hayne, Mrs. McGowan has lived in the Wilmington area most of her life. She graduated from Williston and went to Fayetteville Alumni -- now Fayetteville State College. She became a teacher and taught for 35 years -- 19 in Duplin County and 16 at William H. Blount school, her alma matter. "Well, you know I said I wasn't excited, but when I looked up and saw all these cars I'm getting excited," said Mrs. McGowan as she walked into Scottish Rite for her party. "I'm getting excited!" "I just feel tingly. Yeah, real rejoicing," she added. Friends say Mrs. McGowan is one of a kind. "She always tell me the truth and if I'm wrong she'll tell me that too," said longtime friend Willie Mae David. "She's very loving, lovely, and she'd help you with whatever you need to do she'll help you and she helped me a lot," added another friend Angeline Ravix. "I just love her to death." "Happy, happy, happy, happy birthday Mom," Jessye Lofton said. "I love you." Mrs. McGowan's birthday celebration included a ceremony, dinner, and, of course, birthday cake.
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