On Tuesday, May 5, Livermore resident Betty Cockerill Lewis was surprised with a celebration in honor of her 106th birthday outside of her Heritage Estates residence.

Family and members of the community all came to show their respect. Lewis, who is said to be incredibly humble, had claimed, “I have had so many birthdays — let’s just forget about it.” But family members wanted to make this birthday a special one.

Livermore Mayor Marchand was in attendance and presented Lewis with a certificate of recognition along with a cloisonné pin representing the city. Local firefighters lit up the grounds with flashing red lights, and local police showed up in a vintage police car. Letters of congratulations were sent from Congressman Eric Swalwell and from Carol Folt, president of USC, where Lewis graduated in 1936 with a degree in history.

Due to the shelter-in-place ordinance, Lewis was only able to participate at a distance, and was walked by Heritage Estates staff to a window in the lobby of her residence where she found people gathered outside with balloons and cards in her honor. Celebrants spoke to Lewis on the phone. A larger family gathering later took place through a Skype meeting, with members checking in from as far as Switzerland.

Family members describe Lewis as warm, upbeat and positive, with the ability to gracefully handle whatever comes her way. She appears to be much younger than her 106 years. When she moved to the Heritage Estates at age 94, she was still driving and cooking her own meals. Other than a blood pressure pill, Lewis takes no medication, and after a visit to the cardiologist, she was told that her heart appeared in better shape than some 40-year-olds. Her family laughs when she says, “I’m still here! Not sure why.”