A Jackson County family planned a surprise drive-by celebration on Saturday, Jan. 30, where area residents and friends dropped off cards and gifts in honor of Martha Jo Blackstock's 103rd birthday.

Miss Blackstock waved from six feet away from the comfort of a heated truck as temperatures continued to drop.

One guest even gave a bag of apples to Blackstock as she was his former teacher at Jefferson High School, where she was principal for 35 years.

“Most of my visitors were my former students,” she said.

Blackstock said that she couldn’t see her guests too well, but she got to hear who they were as she listened to them wish her a happy birthday through a voice amplifying device.

“This was the biggest surprise," she said. "I have thoroughly enjoyed it. I didn’t expect anything special, but I appreciate everyone who came by.”

When asked what her secret is to a long and healthy life, she replied, “I have no idea, I didn’t expect it.”

However, her family attributes her longevity to genes and staying active by taking walks when she is able and the fact that she even cut her own grass on her riding lawnmower until she turned 101.

“If I could see, I think I could cut it now,” she said.

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