90 years celebrated with drive-by party

Drive-by 90th birthday party for Rosemary Burns

WATERTOWN, N.Y. (WWNY) - It was a parade down Watertown's Paddock Street, all to celebrate the 90th birthday of Rosemary Burns.

"It was really a surprise,” she said. “I can't believe it."

Her daughter Kathie helped organize the surprise. She says keeping her mom from finding out wasn't easy.

"She knows everything we're doing” Kathie Burns said. And, I just didn't call her. I didn't go over there, of course. And, I didn't call her."

Rosemary is no stranger to Watertown.

Her husband Karl served as the city's mayor in the ‘70s and ‘80s.

And her son John retired as the Jefferson County Sheriff in 2014.

"Being in politics, both my father and myself, you got to have somebody strong behind you,” the former sheriff said. “And we certainly did with her."

After COVID-19 started closing the state down, Rosemary didn't think a big celebration would be possible.

"I didn't think I'd see anybody, except my kids coming for pizza tonight."

Kathie says they had originally started planning Rosemary's birthday in December and the virus almost put it on hold.

"We figured well, we'll have to wait until 91,” Kathie said. “But, luckily, we don't have to.”

Rosemary says a couple things helped her reach the 90th milestone.

“Hard work, that keeps you going,” she said. “And, be nice to everyone.”

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