SOUTH PASADENA – Helen Love celebrated her 103rd birthday with friends and family Friday, Aug. 25 at the Gulfport Rehabilitation Center.
“This is one wonderful mother that we have,” said daughter Barbara Walker.
Mrs. Helen was born to Thomas and Sara James on Aug. 27, 1914, in Valdosta, Ga., one month after World War I began. She married at an early age to Robert Mack Swain and moved to St. Petersburg in 1933.
With this union, the happy couple brought four children into the world. Her husband supported the family as a mason, building many of the homes in Lakewood Estates.
Upon his retirement, the two moved to Odessa where she grew vegetables, raised chickens and grew sugar cane. Granddaughter Brenda Walker remembers spending time on her little farm in Pasco County.
“I loved the chickens and the hens and the eggs,” she said. “There would be sugar cane. She would have everything for us. She would take us to church and I love her so much.”
When her husband died in 1977, Mrs. Helen moved back to St. Petersburg.
“He was a good father and he was good to her,” said Barbara, noting that Mrs. Helen remarried in 1980 to Cassius Love who also preceded her in death.
As adults, her grandchildren always remember her being there.
“She helped me out a lot with my kids, raising my kids,” said oldest granddaughter Judy Walker. “She was there for me and I just love her so much. She’s the best grandmother.”
Great grandson Aaron Brown, 35, is truly grateful to have grown up with his grandmother and great grandmother.
“It had to be the most enjoyable time in my life,” he said. “I’m truly blessed to have a great grandmother that’s still alive and to be able to sit and come see her and tell her how much I love her. She lights up every time she sees me.”