Pearl Prince of Chesapeake, Ohio, celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends on Wednesday.
Born Nov. 6, 1919, Prince has lived on Greasy Ridge Road in Chesapeake as a daughter, wife, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother as well as great-great-great-grandmother.
The daughter of Beatrice and Perry Riley, she started school in the first grade on Bear Creek in a one-room school house. She walked over the hill from her home to attend school. She can still remember her first-grade teacher, Ruth Black, in the 1920s. She attended school until the 11th grade. Her final year was in the old Chesapeake High School building that is now the Chesapeake Community Center.
“I had one teacher that was no good, but all the rest were good,” Prince remembers of her education.
She married Harry Prince at the age of 15. Their union lasted for 62 years until his death in 1996. Their union created eight children: Alma Pyles, Bobby Prince, Barbara Devore, Leslie Prince, Sharon Black, Marilyn Black, Dwight Prince and Debbie Dorsey. All of her children are still living except Bobby.
Prince was a homemaker, raising her children while husband Harry worked at Allied Chemical in South Point. At one point, she took a job at McCrorys in Huntington.
She is the oldest living member of Mount Hope Missionary Baptist Church on Greasy Ridge Road. Her father, Perry Riley, donated the land for the original church for which he was one of the founding members. The church started in a blacksmith shop. The current church building stands just a short distance down the road from the original site. She recently attended the Homecoming service in September.
Prince now lives at Wyngate at the Rivers Edge in Rome Township. She moved there in February of this year. The staff says she is a quiet resident and is very family oriented. She is also spiritual and humbling.
Her family says she enjoys the meals there. She also likes watching “Little House on the Prairie” and “The Waltons.”
Prince has 24 grandchildren, 45 great-great-grandchildren and more great-great-great-grandchildren than she can count.
The family celebrated with a luncheon at Wyngate on her birthday. Mount Hope Missionary Baptist Church had an evening service at Wyngate on the same day, bringing the service and congregation to Prince, who says she misses being able to attend her beloved church.