CRESTVIEW — Two days before her 104th birthday, Mary Richardson was surrounded by relatives, friends and staff members at the Crestview Rehabilitation Center. Attendees also included Crestview Mayor David Cadle.

The celebration was the first of three parties in her honor, according to her son, John Richardson of Baker. Her fellow church members at Pilgrim Rest Baptist Church in Baker held a party for her the weekend of Oct. 22, followed by a family get-together at a relative's home.

"I never thought it would happen — 104 years old. She didn't either," John Richardson said.

That doesn't stop him giving her a challenge every now and then though.

"I tell her we should race up and down the halls, but she won't give me a head start," he said.

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Born in Iowa, Mary and her family moved to Colorado when she was 15. She met her husband, John Richardson, there, after his family moved up from Mississippi. The two ranched and raised their four sons in their 65 years together. Her husband died at age 90 in 2004.

When the center began planning Richardson's birthday celebration, they requested people turn in 104 birthday cards to surprise her with. School and youth groups, and individuals sent in approximately 515 birthday cards to her. Baker School's leadership students brought 104 of their own. Girl and Boy Scout troops also contributed several cards to the total amount.

"These are going to take me a while to get through," Richardson said.