Little River community celebrates local seamstress, inspiring woman’s 100th birthday


LITTLE RIVER, SC (WBTW) – The Little River Community celebrates a special 100th birthday on Saturday at the St. Paul African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

Iva Mae Ward is 100 years blessed.

“All our lives, she has always been able to look out for our community and make sure if there were things that you needed, you knew you could always go to Miss Iva,” Shirra Ward, her granddaughter, said.

Iva Ward is a lifetime member at the St. Paul AME Church, where a 100th birthday celebration was hosted by family, friends, and church members, who say Ward brings joy and inspiration to their life. Ward was born in Little River, South Carolina, in 1920.

Iva Ward is also known as “Mother” by people who consider her as a motherly figure. Friends and family say Iva Ward is “a very proud lady.”

Iva Ward is a grandmother to 19, a loved mother, sister, cousin a church member, and a successful seamstress. She worked in high-end clothing stores and became reputable in the community, around South Carolina, and internationally for her designs.

“She quilted years ago, so people have quilts in their home right now that she quilted in her 20s and 30s,” Shirra Ward said.

Iva Ward’s friends and family honor the centennial accomplishment. Her grandchildren and great-grandchildren call her an inspiration and say she taught them to never give up.

“She spread that good feeling that your grandmas have, that everyone just loves and cherishes those moments with her,” Tsadiq Jones, great-grandson said.

Loved ones say she has been sewing, persevering, and inspiring people her entire life.

“You taught me the word of fashion, so I’m always ahead of what’s coming out,” Sondra Ward, her daughter said.

The community didn’t miss the chance to celebrate a lifetime accomplishment, as several family and friends socially distance outside their cars and send their love from across the parking lot.

“We are all very proud to call you Mother,” Sondra Ward said.

One hundred years of life is a blessing to Iva Mae Ward. But those who celebrate Iva Mae Ward’s 100th birthday on Saturday, say Ward’s presence and influence is the real blessing.

“I always felt moved by the fact that even on the days when I wake up, and I don’t feel like it, I do it for Mother because she is worth it,” Shirra Ward said.

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