One of the first Black women to work at Campbell Soup, this 100-year-old is known as ‘the Queen’

Rick Riley waves with his 100-year-old grandmother Daisy Riley, of Camden, as she celebrated her birthday last week.© Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

A retired Campbell Soup Co. employee who helped break racial barriers at the company’s flagship plant in downtown Camden, Daisy Riley began celebrating her 100th birthday last week in grand style in her Parkside neighborhood.

Although she never believed she would reach this milestone, Riley has embraced her new status as a centenarian and credits healthy living and daily meditations with God for her longevity.

Daisy Riley, of Camden, celebrated her 100th birthday last week. She is the queen of her block on Haddon Avenue and a history maker as one of the first Black female employees at Campbell Soup Co. She regularly attends First Nazarene Baptist Church where she will be honored on Sunday.© Jose F. Moreno/The Philadelphia Inquirer/TNS

“I don’t even feel like I’m 100. I know I am,” she said during an interview. “I say ‘Lord, I thank you!’” Wearing a rhinestone-studded tiara and a sash, Riley was heralded on the stoop of her rowhouse on Haddon Avenue with a convoy led by a Camden fire truck, sirens blaring. Riley, known by nearly everyone in the neighborhood as “the Queen,” smiled and waved as motorists honked their horns. Passersby shouted greetings.

“She’s a blessing, a nice lady,” said Aleta Goodwater, 58, a school crossing guard walking by on her way to her post. A fixture in Camden for more than 80 years and the matriarch of a large family, Riley is beloved by generations of children in her neighborhood where she gave out peach and vanilla ice cream. (Source: Melanie Burney, The Philadelphia Inquirer)