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By Erin Smith

An Elizabethtown man recently celebrated his 100th birthday in style as he was presented with the Key to the City.

Deacon Grover Cleveland Hall was greeted by fellow church members, friends and family at Glenda’s Just Desserts in Elizabethtown recently. To mark the occasion Elizabethtown Mayor Sylvia Campbell presented Hall with the Key to the City.

“This is a program we used to do (regularly),” said Campbell.

She explained the historic symbolism of the Key to the City. Mayor Campbell said hundreds of years ago, a city would have gates with locks. Historically, the key to the city would unlock those gates when they were closed thereby allowing someone to enter that city, explained Mayor Campbell.

Juanita Hester, with the town of Elizabethtown, said that all requests for a “Key to the City” received by the town are honored. She said recent town records indicate, the Key to the City has recently been awarded on three prior occasions. They include:

In 2006, Mayor Pro Temp Rufus Lloyd presented the Key to the City to Dr. Edward Treadwell, a Bladen County native, that was speaking at the Bladen/Columbus Chapter of the NC A&T State Alumni Association Scholarship Breakfast;

On February 10, 2013 – Mayor Pro Temp Rufus Lloyd presented to Congresswoman Marsha Fudge a “Key to the City” – she was speaking in Elizabethtown in celebration of “Black History Month”; and

On April 22, 2015 – Mayor Sylvia Campbell presented Lt. General Joe Anderson, Commanding General at Ft. Bragg, with a “Key to the City” when the Town signed an Army Community Covenant with Ft. Bragg.

In addition to the Key to the City, Hall was presented with a certificate by Fairmont Mayor Charles Townsend, he also received a certificate from the NC General Assembly and a letter from Governor Roy Cooper.

Barbara Rogers of Fairmont said she helped to organize the celebration. Rogers attends church with Hall at Potters House in Fairmont where he has served as a Deacon for more than 50 years.

“I can remember, when I was a little girl, and he was a deacon then,” said Rogers, who is 64 years old.

Rogers said the celebration took place on Saturday, March 9th, but Hall’s true date of birth is March 11th. She said when Hall walked into the restaurant, he was pleased and excited.

“He said, ‘You got me again,’” said Rogers of Hall’s reaction to the gathering.

She said planning birthday celebrations for Hall has become a tradition over the past several years. Rogers said the first celebration occurred when Hall celebrated his 95th birthday. She described Hall as being deeply involved in his church and faith.

“He is a praying deacon. He can be hilarious but he can be serious when it comes to the word of God,” said Rogers.

She explained that Hall also cares very deeply for his friends and fellow church members. Rogers said that Hall will call his fellow church members just to check on them and to share the word of God with them. She said Hall always has wise counsel for those who choose to share their concerns with him.

Hall has two sons, Dr. Marvin Hall who is married to Christine, and Curtis Hall who is married to Angela. He has four granddaughters and six great-grandchildren that he is very fond of, according to Rogers. Hall has been married twice. His first wife was Mary and his second wife was Pearl, both of whom have passed away, according to Rogers.

She said Hall always talks about the fact he has two homes—his home in Elizabethtown and his second home is the Potters House in Fairmont. Rogers said he often refers to church members as “his children.”