Bellaire family throws surprise social distancing party for 95-year-old matriarch

HOUSTON – The coronavirus did not stop a Bellaire family from celebrating their matriarch on Monday, who turned 95 years old.

Roslyn Unger was a baby during the Great Depression and a teenager during WWII. On Monday, during the year of coronavirus she turned 95 years old.

Maureen Tucker, Roslyn’s daughter, came up with the idea to celebrate the milestone with an outdoor party, a socially distant one.

“Mom loves parties,” Tucker said.

The celebration was not a total surprise. Tucker said her mother needed prior notice to get dolled up.

“My daughter said, ‘Do not surprise grandma. You know 95. Let’s face it mom.’ So, I said ‘OK, we gotta give her a little heads up,’” Tucker said.

When Roslyn stepped outside Brookdale Senior Living Solutions in the Galleria, staff, family and friends greeted her with song. They crowd sang Happy Birthday. Roslyn, wearing a boa, birthday hat and face mask started singing too. Roslyn said she was thrilled to see so many familiar faces, even if they were hidden behind masks.

“Here I am. It is wonderful to be with my friends,” she sang.

The birthday wishes traveled from near and far, as Roslyn’s grandchildren joined the festivities virtually. Family and friends refused to miss this day.

“No way,” said Scott McMillan, a family friend of 35 years. “Plus it’s so easy to get here. There’s not traffic.”

Roslyn said it’s a birthday she’ll never forget.

“It’s unbelievable. It’s unbelievable. Basically it is 95 but to say I don’t feel it. I feel. It feels good to be here and to be with family and friends. I love it,” she said.

Tucker said the hope is to celebrate her mother’s 96th birthday next year without the coronavirus or social distancing.