The Southwest Senior Center was filled with laughter and singing on Wednesday February 2, 2022 in celebration of Bette Hatcher’s 100th birthday. Hatcher was sporting a tiara and blue suede heels, as well as a sash that read “It’s My 100th Birthday!” while surrounded by friends and family as she recounted her fondest memories.
Bette Hatcher was born on February 2, 1922 and is a native of South Philadelphia. She had two children, three grandchildren and ten great grandchildren. Her great-grandson, Lawrence Pierce, shared that his favorite things about his great grandmother are her loving nature and style, which he inherited. He fondly remembers his great grandmother’s home cooked meals, as she cooked breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday. She even made a cake once a week. He recalls her 7UP cake and oven roasted chicken being some of his favorites. He spent a lot of time at her big, lime green house on Carpenter Street that she painted herself.
Hatcher is known to many as a stylish woman. She has a love for fashion and hats and even wore a different hat to Mt. Zion Baptist Church every Sunday, where she has been a member for over 30 years. Hatcher turned her passion into business when she opened her own thrift store in West Philadelphia. She ran her thrift store at the age of 35 for five years before she moved on to new adventures like collecting antiques such as figurines, jewelry, and plate settings. At her celebration, she wore a variety of jewelry including a necklace with a coin from the year she was born.
Bette Hatcher moved to Southwest 17 years ago and has been an essential member of the community ever since. She credits the friendly people as being her favorite thing about the neighborhood. She joined the Southwest Senior Center on October 30, 1992 where she has been an active member for 30 years. Paulette Cunningham, director of the community center, remembered Hatcher “twirling through the front door like Loretta Young.” Hatcher held the position of Advisory Council President from 1994 to 1995. She was active with the Supportive Older Women’s Network, Drama Club and was a part of the Red Hat Society. Hatcher would also participate in the senior center’s annual fashion shows and Easter Hat Contest. At age 95 she was elected Queen of Southwest Senior Center.
When asked her secret to living until 100 years old, Hatcher says she doesn’t have any- but if she did, she says, “would share them with us all.”