Jayne, Tommy and Chris Elliott pose with Sarah Lacy Butler in front of the “card in the yard” on her 101st birthday.

Sarah Vaughn Lacy Butler, born in 1919 and raised on Love Shop Road in Halifax, was surrounded by more than 35 family members and friends on Sept. 27 as she celebrated her 101st birthday.

Observing precautions due to the virus, the annual party was held in the backyard of her home in Burlington, North Carolina.

She is known as Maw Maw to her family, friends from her church, neighborhood and her quilting colleagues.

Her smile and sparkling blue eyes are mindful of her reign as Miss Halifax in 1937. She graduated from Halifax County High School —a star player on the women’s basketball team — and worked locally at Newberry’s Five & Dime.

Rupert Butler, born in Wolf Trap, won her hand in 1938 and they moved to Burlington in 1941. Rupert was a long-distance trucker and he and Sarah loved to travel. They were avid campers, crisscrossing the country, making friends and memories that have lasted through the years. Rupert died in 2000.

The couple had two sons, Max and Wayne. Wayne married and died in 2006. Wayne’s wife, Connie, lives in Alamance County, North Carolina. They also had two sons: Brett lives with his family in Newton, North Carolina, and Trevor and family live in Cary, North Carolina.

Max and his wife, Penny, live in Mebane, North Carolina. Penny Butler is well-known in Halifax County. She’s played in many tournaments at Halifax Golf and Country Club and Green’s Folly. She continues to participate in senior sports tournaments in the region, playing pickleball and table tennis.

Max and Penny’s son, Yonnie and daughter, Stephany, and their families are married with children and grandchildren, all living in Alamance.

Sarah Butler is one of seven children of William “Buck” Lacy and Sallie “Bet” Epps Lacy. Her siblings were William, Bailey, Charles, Ann, Epps and Mary Sue. After 100 years, the family tobacco farm is still managed by Epp’s sons, James and Danny.

Tommy and Jayne Elliott and two of his three children, Chris and Denise, joined the festivities. Tommy’s mother, Mary Sue Lacy Elliott, was Sarah’s younger sister. Mary died in 1979.

Greeting the friends and family was a giant “card in the yard,” a 20-foot two layer “Happy Birthday” sign, sent by her great granddaughter, Katie, who lives in Raleigh, North Carolina, and was unable to attend. Guests enjoyed backyard fare, hamburgers, chili dogs, salad and chips, topped off by sharing a hand-decorated 101st birthday cake made by her friend, Carolyn Gregory. A second cake had a photo of Butler as Miss Halifax County 1937 on the top.