Resident granted 90th birthday wish of Walmart visit

Published 4:09 pm Monday, October 14, 2013

Family and friends sing "Happy Birthday" to 90-year-old Vera Devaughn during her celebratory Walmart visit Monday morning.

Family and friends sing “Happy Birthday” to 90-year-old Vera Devaughn during her celebratory Walmart visit Monday morning.

For her 90th birthday, Clanton resident Vera Devaughn simply wanted to visit a place where she could see many of her friends she hasn’t seen in a long time.

Devaughn wanted to go to Walmart, and on her birthday Monday morning, she did.

“Not only is this her favorite place to shop, but these are her favorite people,” said Betty Hess, one of Devaughn’s daughters. “She hadn’t been able to come in over a year.”

Devaughn lives with Hess and her husband, Jerry.

When Devaughn’s Southern Care Hospice nurses found out what she wanted to do for her birthday this year, they coordinated a “Last Wish” outing for her at Walmart in Clanton.

As she sat next to her birthday cake and balloons in the bakery section Monday, Devaughn was surrounded by family and friends, many of whom were Walmart employees who had met Devaughn during her previous visits to the store for shopping and bingo.

Walmart employee Debbie Martin said her mother and Devaughn were former neighbors and spent much time together.

“I remember they used to sit out on the porch and laugh,” Martin said. “They had the best time. We’re just glad that she got to come and glad that we were able to be part of her 90th birthday.”

Devaughn’s daughter Patsy Sellers, of Clanton, was also present for her Walmart visit.

Devaughn’s third daughter is Amelia Bishop of Billingsley.

Devaughn has one grandson and two granddaughters.

A Missouri native, she has lived in Chilton County for nearly 62 years.

Hess said Devaughn worked at Levine’s Shoe Store in Clanton in the 1960s, as well as Thrifty’s department store on Main Street and Elmore’s, a 5-and-10 store.

Devaughn said she made it to 90 years through “hard work and worry.”

“I told everybody she’s as sharp as a tack and twice as rusty,” Hess said. “She is so with it mentally.”

Hess said Devaughn’s mother lived to be 92 years old, and her brother made it to age 96.

“Longevity runs in the family,” Hess said.

After family, friends and Walmart associates gathered around Devaughn and sang “Happy Birthday” to her, her nurses took her through the store to her favorite stops, including the pharmacy and jewelry departments.

Devaughn said her Walmart visit was “heaven.”

“She’ll think about this ’til she leaves this world,” Hess said.

Mara Tierce and Tammy Noah of Southern Care Hospice spearheaded efforts to plan Devaughn’s “Last Wish” outing with Walmart’s cooperation.

“Ms. Devaughn is a wonderful lady,” Southern Care Volunteer Coordinator Andy Rice said. “She always cared for people, and she is always wanting to go above and beyond to make people feel welcome. She loves her family and friends.”