Ethel Anna Preast Humphrey celebrated her 100th birthday on March 30 with a get-together with family and friends at her home where she lives with her son, James Humphrey. Everyone enjoyed food, birthday cakes and sharing Ethel’s special day with her and also looking over the three picture boards put together showing photos of Ethel and her family through the years.
She received three birthday cakes made by her granddaughter, Brenda (Humphrey) McKinney; her great-granddaughter, Andrea Humphrey; and her neighbor, Angie Hull.
Ethel was born in Nicholas County to James and Virginia Preast. She was always a good worker in the home and helped neighboring families with household chores to earn a little money to help out. Her Dad had a mail route through the mountains of Nicholas County in the late 1920s, and Ethel rode horseback at the age of 16 helping him with his route. The wage for this route was slightly less than $65 per month.
She met the love of her life, Ernest Humphrey, and they wed on New Year’s Eve 1930. They became the proud parents of two sons, Ernest Junior and James Ray. They also have a daughter-in-law, Jo Humphrey, whom they have always affectionately referred to as “our little girl.” They painfully endured the loss of their son, Junior, in 1982. She then lost her sweetheart of 66 years in 1996.
She’s always been known for her generosity; not leaving her house without something in hand for someone. She and her husband were always helping those in need, even strangers, whether it be with cash, bags of food, or a hot meal. They were also one of the founding families instrumental in starting the Alta First Church of God many years ago.
She’s very thankful for her blessed long life, giving total credit to God for her longevity. Along with many cards and gifts she received from family and friends, she received birthday greetings from Governor Tomblin, Senators Rockefeller and Manchin, and Congressman Rahall. She also received a very special gift, a U.S.flag that was flown on her birthday over the nation’s Capitol.
Ethel is the very proud Mamaw of six grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, nine great-great-grandchildren, and seven step-grandchildren.