Eighty years and counting

Susie Davis-Fulton recently turned 80 years old (May 15), and her family threw her a party fit for a queen held at the Lake Vista Community Center.


ST. PETERSBURG — It may have taken some time, but Susie Davis-Fulton is about to get a gift she never saw coming for her 80th birthday. She will have her very own article in one of her favorite newspapers, The Weekly Challenger. A dedicated fan of the paper, Davis-Fulton said she reads it religiously.

“I get a copy from my church every Sunday,” she said. “I like reading the stories — how people overcome adversity. I just enjoy reading a lot of what they have in there.”

And now, she can say her story has been shared there too. She recently turned 80 years old (May 15), and her family threw her a party fit for a queen.

The night was complete with music, singing, dancing, games, and of course, a few surprises. The biggest surprise of the night was the attendance of her longtime friend Parmie Matthews, who came all the way from Las Vegas to be there for her friend’s big day.

Matthews and Davis-Fulton became friends in the 1960s when they were neighbors in Largo. They have stayed in touch all these years.

“I haven’t seen her in about six years,” the mother of three girls said. “It was so good to see her.”

Her daughters also surprised her with a song. They serenaded their mom with the Boyz II Men hit, “Mama.”

“I had never heard the song before,” Davis-Fulton said. “It was just so beautiful.”

Her daughter Shelia Waters said it was an emotional moment for everyone.

“She was crying; we were crying, the audience was crying,” she said. “We chose that song because the lyrics are very lovely, and it had everything in it that we wanted to say to her.”

Three of the honoree’s great-granddaughters performed praise dances in her honor, and the nearly 100 attendees wore purple and yellow at her request. Purple is her favorite color.

Waters said another highlight from the celebration, held at the Lake Vista Community Center, was the game modeled after the Wheel of Fortune, complete with a spinning wheel. The idea was that her mother would receive whatever gift she landed on. Gifts included five dollars in cash, a Red Lobster gift card, a mystery check, and one of her favorite foods, oxtails.

Even though Davis-Fulton only landed on a couple of the gifts, she found out that she was actually going to receive all of them.

“Everyone wanted to know what the mystery check was,” Waters said. “It was a check for $1,000. And a cousin stood up and said to add another $500 to it.”

Davis-Fulton was overjoyed with love and well wishes her family and friends showered on her.

“I am just so grateful,” she said. “God has truly taken care of me.”

As she reflects on her 80 years, Davis-Fulton said there had been a lot of adversity in her life — from losing her husband in a car accident to almost dying nearly 16 years ago after a routine outpatient procedure.

“I ended up in a coma,” she revealed. “They thought there would be brain damage, but my memory is still good. That’s nobody but God.”

Davis-Fulton said she is excited about her chance to have her story in The Weekly Challenger and grateful for all the wonderful gifts she received. However, there is one gift that she is still waiting for, and she won’t let her family forget about it.

“She just asked me about it the other day,” Waters laughs. “She wants to know when she is going to get her oxtails.

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