Should one begin a discussion of good genetics, that conversation would at some point certainly come around to Willie “Bud” McNair.
And one can only discuss McNair from the perspective of genetics if his two sisters, Mildred and Mercedes Dickson, are included in the mix.
The three celebrated McNair’s birthday recently with a gathering of family and friends, if more than 200 people constitute a simple “gathering,” at the Centennial Building in Port St. Joe.
But, this was no ordinary celebration of a life while it remains being lived.
McNair was celebrating his 100th birthday, born July 16, 1919 (World War I had just ended) in Port St. Joe to Dow and Clara McNair.
That was 18 presidents of the United States ago.
McNair was number eight of a brood that grew to 13.
And the celebration of a century included those sisters, the last of McNair’s surviving siblings.
Mildred, we should mention, is age 98, Mildred a mere child at 96.
To top it off, all three siblings share a birth date, all born on July 16; born exactly two years apart… and apart.
Ponder those genetics for a moment.
McNair is father of five and grandfather to 14, great-grandfather to 28. Relatives descended on McNair’s birthday party from California, Indiana, Virginia, Georgia, Alabama, Florida, Maryland, New York and Washington, D.C.
McNair was presented with a pair of commemorative pins for his birthday, one signifying his “devout” service on the trustee board of Zion Fair Missionary Baptist Church and another honoring his service to community.
“He is known as a neighborhood helper,” wrote Janice Hamilton. “During storms he made sure his neighbors had rides to evacuate. He was handy with his hands and helped many residents with whatever repairs were needed.”
McNair served in the U.S. Army during World War II and was a member of VFW Post 10069.
Upon returning to Port St. Joe, he spent over 30 years as a mail carrier for the St. Joe Paper Company. Possessing a chauffer’s license, McNair also drove top executives to and from the airport before retiring in 1981.