Jannie Louise Weston celebrated her centennial birthday with family and friends at Holiday Inn, LaGuardia recently. She is known for her gospel music, two of her of her most well known songs, “Move on Up a Little Higher” and “When I Take MY Vacation to Heaven,” gained her fanfare.
Born on July 25, 1912 in Pantego, N.C., and move to New York City in the 1930s with her aunt until she was ready to go off on her own and worked in a tie factory, a common job for women at that time. She and her late husband raised four children, two boys and two girls. But with her advanced age, Weston ended up outliving her beloved sons. In the 1970s, Leon Weston was shot on the streets of New York City and last year, at age 79, Benjamin Weston, Jr. passed away.
When she had her children, they started living in Hunts Points, Bronx, and she finished raising them in Queens, were she was a missionary at the Refuge Temple Church of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Finally after retiring, she was able to watch her children become successful and respected adults. Ruth Brown became vice chair in the Helene Fuld College of Nursing while Pauline Weston, now retired, worked as a New York City school assistant in P.S. 143 in Queens. Leon Weston worked with his father at their family owned candy store in the Bronx, and Benjamin Weston, Jr. worked as a hospital custodian.
At her birthday celebration Jannie sang, “I Know a Man from Galilee” and “When I Take My Vacation to Heaven” showing her strength and ability to sing at the ripe young age of 100. Her daughter Ruth Brown said, “The party was successful. There were 79 people there! My mom really enjoyed it.” She also said, “even though Jannie has short-term memory loss, she remembered all the words to her songs.”
Special acknowledgements were received from President Barack Obama & First Lady Michelle Obama, Washington, D.C.; N.Y. Gov. Andrew Cuomo; NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg, N.Y. Senator Charles E. Schumer; Queens Borough President Helen Marshall; Council Woman Julissa Ferreras-21st District of Elmhurst Queens, and Sister Simone Gittens-God daughter.