By Jessica Groover
Mary Alice DeBose made sure she wore her sash and crown on Saturday. The former Ms. Senior North Carolina spent the afternoon with local pageant winners, all of them with their sparkling crowns on.
DeBose, a 98-year-old resident of Brookdale Senior Living in Concord, received a visit from six local pageant winners who entertained her and about 40 residents at the retirement home.
“It’s a blessing,” DeBose said. “It’s wonderful. I just thank the Lord for everything, for everybody, to see so many people here to honor me. I don’t have enough words for it.“
Miss Cabarrus County, Mallory Honeycutt, greeted Debose and complimented her on her sash and crown before giving Debose a crown-shaped pin for her blouse.
Honeycutt then performed Celine Dion’s “My Heart Will Go On.” Miss Majestic of Cabarrus County, Mackenzi Guffey, sang Etta James’ “At Last.”
For the last performances, Honeycutt sang another song, and Baby Miss Cabarrus County, Laney Keener, entertained the audience by making animal sounds.
Also there to visit were Little Miss Cabarrus County, Madison Barrier, Miss Teen Cabarrus County, Alexandra Splawn and Tiny Miss Cabarrus County, Scotty Foley, who later sang, “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star” for the audience.
During the entertainment, DeBose bobbed her head and lightly patted her lap with her hands while smiling.
“She has been excited all week long and looking forward to this,” said Pam Clark the life enrichment coordinator at Brookdale. “I knew she would enjoy it because she is a very social lady.“
Clark had planned the event after seeing DeBose’s picture with her crown in sash. In 1995, DeBose won the Ms. Senior North Carolina pageant at the age of 85, after placing as runner up in the 1994 pageant.
DeBose then went on to compete in the National Ms. Senior America Pageant in Biloxi, Miss.
For her talent, she performed a gospel song and provided the audience with an inspirational reading. She also showed off the more than 90 ribbons she won for canning foods like peaches and tomatoes.
It was not surprising DeBose read something inspirational for her talent. Her faith is clearly important to her.
DeBose has been a member of First Missionary Baptist Church in Concord for 75 years and was an usher for 45 years.
“The Lord takes care of me,” DeBose said. “When you are good, the Lord is good to you.“
DeBose was a caretaker herself, raising five children and cooking for the William C. Cannon family for 25 years.
After such an active life, DeBose said that she is proud to able to walk to her three meals every day. For the pageant winners and the staff for the Miss Cabarrus County pageant, it was inspirational to meet DeBose and notice her passion.
“It was so nice to meet someone who shares the same interests I do but is so down to earth,” Honeycutt said. “It’s a blessing to have people in the community like that.“
• Contact reporter Jessica Groover: 704-789-9152.