Former LBJ caregiver celebrates 104th birthday

Alice Holland comes from a family of 10 siblings and celebrates her 104th birthday in Austin March 26, 2014
Alice Holland comes from a family of 10 siblings and celebrates her 104th birthday in Austin March 26, 2014

AUSTIN (KXAN) — March 26, 2014 is a very special day for Alice Holland and her family, marking her 104th birthday.

A couple of thoughtful women just had to make sure she celebrated it with a little special surprise Wednesday morning — an on-air birthday wish from the KXAN News Today morning team.

“What makes her so special and unique is she lives to enjoy 10 decades and she tells everybody about how blessed her life has been,” said one of Alice’s daughters, Bertha.

Bertha (left) and Leavern (right) -- both in their 70s -- had to make sure mother Alice Holland had an extra special 104th birthday (Jackie Vega/KXAN)
Bertha (left) and Leavern (right) — both in their 70s — had to make sure mother Alice Holland had an extra special 104th birthday (Jackie Vega/KXAN)

A colorful pair, Bertha and Leavern Johnson stopped by the KXAN News studio to share a bit of Alice’s story. The Johnson ladies say while they’re sisters-in-law, they feel like they’re sisters because Alice has “adopted” Leavern as one of her own.

Alice was born in Jewett, Texas, back on this day in 1910, and she comes from a family of 10 siblings — outliving all of them. Jewett is about 130 miles northeast of Austin.

She came to the Texas capital at an early age, married, and had two daughters: Bertha and Bobbie.

Bertha and Leavern say Alice is a woman who deserves to be recognized for her long life of hard work and dedication to all who love her and know her.

“She is very coherent and aware of everything and everybody around her,” said Bertha. “She has a very strong mind and remembers everything about her life.”

For many years, Alice worked for former President Lyndon Baines Johnson as a caregiver and also cared for their children. After retiring, she moved to Denver to live with her two daughters and grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-granchildren.

“She can tell you about her past, about her childhood life, her relatives, and the people that she cared for during her early age,” said Bertha. “She likes talking about her fond memories with her sisters and brothers — when they had to work in the cotton fields, walking to school. Their entertainment was church and school gatherings.”

Check out some of the notable people who share a birthday with Alice, including celebrities like Diana Ross and a retired U.S. Supreme Court justice.

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