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Celebrating 106 years in style

Emily Lytle * Delaware
elytle@doverpost.com
Dover Post

As one Dover resident celebrated her 106th birthday quietly June 12 because of coronavirus restrictions, her sorority sisters recorded a celebration in her honor.

Courtney Stevenson is a life member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Epsilon Iota Omega Chapter. While visitation restrictions prevented her from leaving her nursing home, many of her sorority sisters gathered on Legislative Mall, sang “Happy Birthday” and released pink and white balloons to celebrate her life.

Shavonne Bailey, chapter president, said they wanted to find a way to connect with each other and Stevenson while keeping everyone safe. Everything was recorded to show Stevenson later.

“She’s done a lot to support our chapter and many other organizations,” Bailey said. “So, [our chapter] wanted to do something special for her today.”

Mayor Robin Christiansen presented a certificate for Stevenson’s birthday. Her nephew Seaton White II accepted it, with a signed birthday card, for her.

About Courtney Stevenson

A Lynchburg, Virginia native, Stevenson earned a degree in home economics from what was then Delaware State College for Colored Students in 1944. That same year, she married her husband William, a Dover native.

Stevenson taught at the Garrett Preschool Program in Wilmington, the Delaware State College Laboratory High School, Thomas Clayton Elementary School in Smyrna and Louis L. Redding Comprehensive High School in Middletown.

She earned an MA in higher education from New York University and completed graduate study in higher education at the University of Delaware, Iowa State University and Philadelphia College of Arts and Science.

Stevenson has been president and treasurer of the Epsilon Iota Omega Chapter. She was a graduate advisor of the Delta Lambda Chapter at Delaware State University.

She attributes living more than a century to God’s grace, which she said has brought her this far.

Members of the sorority said her warm and kind spirit has positively affected the lives of everyone who has come to know her.