Woman cries tears of joy as family celebrates her 100th birthday outside home

Celebrating from a distance

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - Tuesday was Sybil Richmond’s birthday. She’s 100 years old.

She sat inside her assisted living home as family and friends wish her well from the other side of the window to protect her from the coronavirus.

“You know, we've been really sad because he sees her every day,” daughter-in-law Karen Richmond said of her husband, Rod, “so this has been a very emotional time for us, but having everyone turn out and being able to celebrate her -- I think it's the best we could do."

Sybil was born in the town of Henderson. She spent almost all her life there, only leaving a few years ago to live at Samaritan Summit Village in Watertown.

“Certainly we’d rather be in there and sharing cake and giving her hugs and doing everything that we would typically do,” Sybil’s grandson Tom Widell said, “but we are rolling with the punches and doing the best we can and I think for her it’s going to be just as special regardless.”

After singing there were smiles and tears, tears of joy, for a century of life, one that has seen the Great Depression and a World War.

“She’s a great inspiration to everybody around,” great-grandson Shea Widell said. “I wish everybody could be more like her because she’s a great person.”

“Definitely,” great-granddaughter Kiersten Widell said,

Proof positive that a little bit of distance can bring us closer together.

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