Benton Harbor Family holds Birthday parade for 86-year-old great great grandmother

BENTON HARBOR, Mich. - Josephine Meridy is a mother, grandmother, great grandmother and great great grandmother. Her family has always enjoyed celebrating her. Her birthday is no different, but with COVID-19 making it harder and harder for everyone to see her, they had to get creative which led to Saturday's parade in front of her home for her 86th birthday.

"Oh, it felt so good," Josephine said. "It was a good feeling. 86? Good feeling."

Her friends and family affectionately call her "Queen Josephine" because she's been a big influence on the younger generations in Benton Harbor.

"It's amazing. It's truly a blessing to see 86 years of life. So, we wanted to honor and celebrate her life, her legacy and the love. She's known as 'Granny' to so many people in the Benton Harbor Community."

Josephine raised eight kids and now has 51 grandchildren, 74 great grandchildren and seven great great grandchildren. Family and friends came from Kalamazoo, Grand Rapids, South Bend, Detroit and Chicago for to celebrate Josephine as she watched from her balcony.

"I almost froze standing out there, but I was very happy," Josephine said. "I was happy. I'm still happy."

Josephine said the parade, a complete surprise to her, made her feel 21 again. In addition to surprising her with the parade, friends and family filled the trunk of an SUV with gifts for her. Josephine said it all gave her new motivation to continue living her life for others and lead her family.

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