Fannet Lyons celebrates 100th birthday on Sept. 8

9/5/2013, 9 a.m.
Fannet Clark Lyons will mark her 100th birthday on Sept. 8th at Mount Herman AME Church [17800 NW 25th Ave.], ...
Fannet Lyons Family photo

Fannet Clark Lyons will mark her 100th birthday on Sept. 8th at Mount Herman AME Church [17800 NW 25th Ave.], where many relatives and friends will help her celebrate a very special day. The festivities begin at 1 p.m. in the Church’s Fellowship Hall.

“My mother has touched many lives in Miami-Dade County and and I know they will all want to be part of this amazing day,” said her son, Deacon Franklin Clark.

Lyons believes her faith in God is the reason she has been blessed with such longevity. The Florida native can tell horrific, as well as beautiful stories about her experiences with racism, segregation, poverty, loss of loved ones and hundreds of other barriers through which God has brought her.

Her love for the Lord and Christian experiences, she says, has kept her with a positive outlook on life. And even at 100 years “young,” she is still an encouraging, outspoken and knowledgeable woman. She remembers working all day and receiving just one dollar. Still, that experience wasn’t enough to sour her disposition.

“Back then, all of us were so poor that we knew we had to help each other as much as we could — and we made it through,” she added.

Lyons was born in 1913 in Overtown to parents, Burke and Mary Smith, who traced their origins to the Bahamas. Her father died at a very young age and because she was the oldest child, Lyons had no choice but to quit high school, get a job and help her mother raise her siblings.

Lyons is the mother of four: Leonard, Franklin, Marvin and Rosemary Clark Bethel; and the matriarch of many grands, great-grands and great-great-grands.

As she began to talk about her church, Mt. Hermon, a smile appeared on her face.

“I joined Mt. Hermon in 1959 and I have been here ever since,” she said. “

She spoke with pride about all the love that the members shower upon her because of her position as a church pioneer. And while her health doesn’t allow her to do so now, she once sang with choir #3 and said in reflecting about those days, “I loved it.”