Mark Webster’s neighbors had told him they were taking him out to get ice cream.
Instead, the World War II veteran was taken Aug. 30 to First Church of Christ in Painesville, where his 100th birthday was celebrated with a car parade.
Webster’s sister Louise Hall said the original hope was to have a large family dinner, but the novel coronavirus pandemic changed plans and they went with what she called the next best thing.
Dozens of cars drove past the back of the church to wish Webster a happy birthday.
Webster, now of Painesville Township, grew up in Grand River and graduated from Harvey High School. During World War II, he served in the European Theater, including in Germany, Hall said. Webster said he is a Silver Star recipient. According to the U.S. Department of Defense, the Silver Star is the third-highest military combat decoration that can be awarded to a member of the United States Armed Forces and is awarded for “gallantry in action.”
“He’s the most deserving person to live to 100,” his granddaughter Danielle Webster said.
She described her grandfather as a man who cares about helping others, almost to a fault.
“He can’t say no,” she said.
With a boost from social media, she was able to collect 400 cards — even from those who didn’t know him personally — to wish him a happy 100th birthday.
“I’m lucky and blessed to have him in my life,” she said.
Hall said the day before his birthday, Webster told her the best part about living to 100 is being able to see his children, grandchildren and great grandchildren all grow up and do well in life.
“I’m blessed to have so many friends,” Webster said, as he waited for the first well-wishers to arrive.
Hall said that her brother always has had a sense of humor and he still has it.
Even as the cars passed, Webster didn’t forget about the ice cream.
“So where’s my hot fudge sundae?” he joked.