Sara Pannell of Corinth has reached a milestone.

The Alcorn County woman recently celebrated her 101st birthday.

“I can’t believe my mother will be 102 next year. She still walks and keeps a full on conversation with you,” said Suzy Marlar, wife of former Trustmark bank president, Vic Marlar.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Pannell was unable to celebrate with family and friends on June 1.

“We haven’t been able to physically be around her since March,” said Marlar. “It’s very difficult for all of us.”

Family members are only allowed to talk to Pannell through the screen door at the assistant living center where she resides.

Marlar said her mother goes to the dining room three times a day for meals, and sometimes they get to see her from a distance.

“It amazes me at her age she has an appetite. Looking at her you wouldn’t believe it because she is so tiny and fragile,” said the daughter.

According to Marlar, her mother’s favorite thing to eat is catfish and sweets.

Even though Pannell didn’t get to party for her 101st birthday, she had a huge celebration bash at the Coca Cola Museum in Corinth last year for her 100th birthday.

Many people attended her party at the museum including family, friends, Mayor Tommy Irwin and businessmen Kenneth and Sandy Williams, said Marlar.

Pannell was born in 1919, 10 years prior to the Great Depression. At over a century old, she has lived through multiple pandemics including Influenza and now COVID-19. She also witnessed integration, the Civil Rights Movement and several other historic events including Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon. She’s seen U.S. presidents’ change 18 times from Woodrow Wilson to Donald Trump.

Pannell was married to her husband, Pete, for many years and the couple remodeled houses for living. She and Pete raised three children – two daughters, Judy and Suzy and one son, Bob. She has 11 grandchildren and 18 great-grandchildren.

“My mother was always a hard worker. She did her own yard work until she couldn’t do it anymore,” said Marlar.

Pannell worked at First Methodist Church pre-school for many years. The children gave her the nickname “Mimi” since she was like a second mother.

Marlar and family members are counting down the days until the pandemic ends so they can spend more time with Pannell.

“Everyone is ready for all this to be over so we can all get together,” she said.

Staff Writer

Gabby Boyd is a native of Iuka and a graduate of the University of Souther Mississippi where she majored in broadcast journalism. She is a staff writer for the Daily Corinthian and an published fantasy fiction author.

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