Dorothy McFarland had a little help blowing out her candles on April 11 as she celebrated her 105th birthday with her nieces, Myrrhene Crawford (left) and Marcheta Allen Mines (right), her grandnephew Stephen Crawford, and St. Anthony Park Home staff members Eric Phillips and Lisa Amsler.
Born in St. Paul in 1908, McFarland is the daughter of S. Edward Hall, a founder of Pilgrim Baptist Church and a civil rights leader who helped pass anti-lynching laws in Minnesota and establish the St. Paul Chapter of the NAACP.
McFarland, a graduate of St. Paul Central High School and Miss Wood’s Kindergarten-Primary Training School, was a teacher at Phyllis Wheatley Nursery School in Minneapolis and then at Wilder Nursery in St. Paul. She lost her husband, Albert, in the 1970s and lived independently until just two years ago, when at the age of 103, she moved into St. Anthony Park Home, where she’s known for her dancing and her storytelling.
When asked about her longevity, she laughed and said she’d never thought about how long she’d live. “I was busy living every day,” she said.
But she did give a clue as to why she thinks she’s celebrating 105 years: “I have a loving family. I was raised that way. They were raised that way. My family has given from the beginning,” she said. “Love, love, love is the name of the game.”