Merced County Times Newspaper
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Shirley Kirby of Merced celebrates 100 years with family, friends


Just like last year, Shirley Kirby of Merced enjoyed a drive-by birthday parade with friends and family members cheering her on as they drove past her home last Saturday. 

But this year it really had nothing to do with covid. They all had so much fun last year, they decided to do it again. 

And besides, this was Shirley’s 100th birthday!

Everybody got together afterward and enjoyed an outdoor BBQ. 

Someone told Shirley that her birthday was a great accomplishment. 

“Thank you,” she replied. “It took me 100 years to do it.” 

Shirley said she is thankful and grateful, and it’s been a great year, and she feels pretty much the same as she did last year. 

She was born in 1922, the same year as Betty White. That’s when you could get a loaf of bread for 9 cents, and a pound of chicken for 39 cents. 

She married Bill Kirby in 1946. They traveled to Anaheim in 1955 with their three kids so they could visit a new place called Disneyland. 

Shirley’s favorite story: When her mother was beginning school, she came home from school one day and asked her father, “Why were there so many kids with the same name as hers — Smith?” 

Her father told her that in the beginning everyone’s last name was Smith, but if they sinned, they had to change their name!