Serlena S. McKinney

Published 12:00 am Sunday, August 31, 2014

Aug. 15, 2014, marked a milestone of 100 years in the life of Mrs. Serlena S. McKinney, mother, grandmother, great-grandmother, great-great-grandmother, aunt and cousin. So on Saturday, Aug. 16, family and friends from near and far gathered at The Laurels of Salisbury to show her how much she is thought of and loved. The family gives praise and thanks to God for blessing her with such a long and wonderful life.
“Big Ma,” as she is called, was born Aug. 15, 1914, in Waynesboro, Ga., and is the only surviving sibling of four children. Baptized at age 13, she united with First Calvary Baptist Church upon moving to Salisbury with her first husband, Rueben Jones, where she is still a member. Her second husband was James McKinney, who died in 1955.
Grounded in a strong faith, she always tells others to pray and trust in God and says her secret to a long life is, “I take care of myself, and I talk to God day and night.” Another saying she is known for is, “God bless you, and Heaven smile upon you.”
Mrs. McKinney’s ambition in life was to help others. She accomplished this as a Private Duty CNA at Rowan Memorial Hospital, which gave her many opportunitites to share her faith as she ministered.
A family-oriented person, she is concerned with the well-being of all, always inquiring how everyone is doing. When asked how she is feeling, she always answers, “I’m fine,” even if she does not feel well, a tribute to her positive outlook on life. And her advice to the younger generation: “Listen to your parents, stay focused and remain in school. Stay in church and serve the Lord. Stop fighting, killing and carrying weapons.”
Another saying she is known for is, “Give me my flowers while I can smell them.” So granddaughter Robbie Terry made a special presentation of 100 red roses to her grandmother. Mrs. McKinney was also presented with a beautiful dish garden on behalf of her daughter, Geneva Jones, who was hospitalized.
The following participated in the celebration honors: Rev. Leamon Brown, prayer; Donna M. Haywood, “Amazing Grace”; Mamie J. Welborne, daughter, “The Occasion”; Robbie M. Terry, granddaughter, highlights of her life; Ave M. Sloane, step-granddaughter, presentation of birthday greetings, including greetings from President Barack Obama and Salisbury Mayor Paul Woodson; Ave M. Sloan, acknowledgement of out-of-town guests; and Chaise Terry, great-granddaughter, grace.
Out-of-town family and guests included: Mr. Robert Welborne, sons Kenny and Christian, and friends Dr. Tarren Foster and Elon, Brandywine, Md.; Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Terry, Xavier and Chaise Terry, Upper Marlboro, Md.; Mrs. Kathryn Terry, Washington, D.C.; Mrs. Crystal Welborne, Robyn Welborne, Stephen Cobb, Waldorf, Md.; Mr. and Mrs. Robert Munns, Augusta, Ga.; Mrs. Edna Munns, Ashanti Munns, Pleasantvile, N.J.; Mr. and Mrs. Marion Griffin Jr., Augusta, Ga.; Mrs and Mrs. Marion Griffin III and sons, Atlanta, Ga.; Mr. and Mrs. Keith Griffin and daughter Alexa, Birmingham, Ala.; Mrs. Johnnie Mosby, Ms. Patricia Banks, Greensboro; Mr. and Mrs. Anthony Welborne, Greensboro; Mr. and Mrs. Orrin Haywood, Raleigh; Mrs. Shirley Waters, Ms. Bridgette Waters, Ms. Brittney Waters, Forestville, Md.; Ms. Daisy Flowers, Fayetteville; Mr. .and Mrs. Monroe Kelsey, Longwood, Fla.; Ms. Ave Maria Sloane, Gaithersburg, Md.; Mrs. Lauranette Banks, Greensboro; Ms. Katherine Dukes, Mount Vernon, N.Y.; Ms. Geneva R. Jones, Upper Marlboro, Md.; and Ms. Mamie J. Welborne, District Heights, Md.
The family extends special thanks to The Laurels for allowing them the use of their facility.