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.
“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)