Maggie Paylor celebrates 100th birthday


— On February 1, 1916, Maggie Paylor was born just outside of Roxboro, North Carolina. The daughter of a sharecropper, Joseph and his wife Josephine, Maggie was one of nine children. On February 1, 2016, the longtime Waverly resident will celebrate her 100th birthday.

Family members and friends of Paylor, whom they affectionately call “Miss Mag” or “Aunt Mag,” will celebrate the historic occasion on Saturday, January 30, 2016. They are throwing a special birthday party in her honor. Family members are traveling to Baltimore from North Carolina, New Jersey, Washington, D.C. and other areas for the special day.

“I feel fine,” said the soon-to-become centenarian with a smile. “I’m excited about my birthday party.”

Mary Russell is Paylor’s niece and caregiver.

“She is doing well,” said Russell. “Aunt Mag still goes up and down the steps, eats by herself, and dresses herself. She is very independent. She really loves to sit and look out the window. In the summer, she really loves sitting on the front porch.”

According to Russell, Paylor was the seventh of nine children and came to Baltimore when she was in her early 20s. During that time, the former Maggie Russell, would meet and eventually marry her husband Henry Paylor, who served in the United States Army during World War II. The couple never had children, but Paylor was like a mother to many, taking family members in during times of need, and helping others whenever possible.

Russell noted that when Paylor’s brother became ill, she left Baltimore and headed back to North Carolina to take care of him. According to Russell, the devoted sister was well into her 70s at the time. While there, she joined Warren’s Chapel Baptist Church, where Russell says she is still a tithing member.

“Aunt Mag took care of her brother until he died,” recalled Russell. “Then she moved back to Baltimore. She is the only surviving sibling of the nine children.”

Paylor’s face may be a familiar one to those who shopped or worked at Stewart’s in downtown Baltimore many years ago. According to Russell, Paylor worked for the department store for years until her retirement.

Russell, who helped spearhead a 90th birthday party for Paylor 10 years ago, talked about her longevity.

“Aunt Mag has a strong spiritual foundation,” said Russell. “She also never allowed things to stress her out. She also loves her family. She taught me the importance of family, and doing things to help other people.”

Over the years, Paylor also enjoyed puzzles, sewing, and baking.

“Aunt Mag also used to love to party,” said Russell as she looked at Paylor with a fond smile. “She also loved to make pound cakes for people’s birthdays.”

This time, it will be Paylor’s turn to receive a birthday cake. However, this one will be emblazoned with a candle with the numerals 100 to mark her momentous milestone.