Community leader celebrates 100 years of blessings

Velma Conyers

Longtime community leader Velma Conyers relaxes in her living room on her 100th birthday Thursday afternoon.

BRIAN HUGHES / News Bulletin
Published: Monday, March 18, 2013 at 04:00 PM.

CRESTVIEW — Velma Conyers’ bum leg makes it tough to stand for long periods in her church choir, but it doesn't stop her from getting out and mingling with her family, church members and sisters in the Order of the Eastern Star.

"I used to be going all the time for the Eastern Star and the church," she said. "I used to bake all the bread for communion and dress the church for communion for the pastor. I was a working lady, but times change and I can sit down and rest now."

On Thursday, "Ma Conyers," as folks in the community affectionately call her, became Crestview's newest centenarian. Her kitchen was a beehive of activity as friends and family helped prepare what her daughter, Velma Mary Haynes, called a "simple country supper."

This afternoon is the big party, hosted by Mt. Zion A.M.E. Church, of which she's been a member since 1926. To honor Conyers' community involvement, the church's outreach program is named the Velma K. Conyers Missionary Society.

In 2000, the Eastern Star’s local chapter, which she joined when she was 18, was named the Velma K. Conyers Chapter 7A, also in honor of her service. She was its grand matron for 46 years.

Beginnings

The daughter of Charlie and Hattie G. Jones, Conyers was 3 months old when her family moved from Bonifay to Deerland, just east of Crestview. She moved to Crestview when she was 8. On March 31, 1929, she married James Robert Lee Conyers, for whom the Masonic Lodge next the Mt. Zion church is named.



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