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Esther Leech marks 100th, celebrates with Magnolia Manor family
Esther Leech, 100, with daughter Donna Shubert.JPG
Esther Leech, who turns 100 on Jan. 29, is joined by daughter Donna Shubert (left) at a birthday celebration with at least 50 of her friends from Magnolia Manor on the Coast. Photo by Mark Swendra

Asked the secret of her longevity, soon-to-be centenarian Esther Leech shrugged, “If I knew, I’d try for 200.”

 Leech was joined Wednesday by more than 50 fellow residents and staff at Magnolia Manor on the Coast who threw her an early 100th birthday party complete with cake and ice cream, balloons and music.

 “I’m shocked to see so many people,” Leech said, but for those who know the affable birthday recipient it should come as no surprise at the turnout. Everyone had something lovely to say about Ms. Leech.

 Friends cited her love of dancing, Bingo and playing cards, the latter we’re told she is hard to beat. Sara Brown, a fellow Magnolia resident, called Leech her best friend as she led a rendition of “Happy Birthday” playing a ukulele.

 “I just love people, and enjoy these gatherings,” said a grateful Leech, who officially marks her birthday on Jan 29.

 Her daughter Donna Shubert was on hand and helped organize the party. She said her mother has always loved people and willing to help others.

 A Magnolia Manor resident for four years, Leech lived most of her life in Florida and the St. Simons area, working in a variety of small family-owned businesses.

 Her sons, Charles and Robert, do not live in the area, and were unable to attend.

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