(ST. JOSEPH, Mo.) A local woman celebrated a big birthday milestone on Saturday. Ruth Mozee spent her 99th birthday surrounded by her family and friends.
Mozee grew up in Elwood, Kansas, and spent her many years serving the First Baptist Church. In fact, Mozee said one of her fondest memories as a child was being baptized under the bridge in the Missouri River around 1931.
"At that time they didn't have baptismal pools, so we had to go to a lake or a river," Mozee said. "So the church deacon went out and mapped out the place where we were gonna baptize, but the Sunday that we were being baptized, the current had changed so we had to - it was to deep and so we had to move it to down to another spot."
Mozee also recalls her marriage to Thomas Mozee, or "Tommy" as she called him. They were married for 64 years.
"I had the nicest husband. He was a wonderful husband," Mozee said. "He was a very jolly person. He always had something funny or cheerful to make people smile."
After being baptized around the age of 12, Mozee spent her years serving the First Baptist Church in many ways. At one point, Mozee ran for the title of Queen of the Usher Board, a national title, and won.
She beat competitors from areas across the country like Los Angeles, California, and New Orleans, Louisiana.
When asked what the secret to a long life was, Mozee said she didn't have the secret. However, she attributed her long years to her friends and family, and her faith.
"I'm thankful for - the Good Lord has spared me to live this many years," Mozee said. "He's been good to me and my health."
Mozee has become a mother figure to many who attend the First Baptist Church in Elwood.
"This is a very, very dearly loved woman," Jeaneal Byrd, Co-Pastor and friend, said. "We love Mother Mozee. She's everybody's mamma."
Mozee said she doesn't want to think too hard about the future, but instead plans on taking life a day at a time.
"God has blessed her, and this is a special day, a special occasion and worthy of letting the world know," Anthony Byrd, Pastor and friend, said.