Social distancing meant that plans for celebrating Helen Coleman’s 100th birthday had to change.

She turned 100 on Thursday, and her son, Tom Coleman, had planned an open house for Saturday and a quiet dinner for Thursday.

But with concerns over the spread of COVID-19 mounting, family and friends instead gathered outside her home and sang happy birthday and waved to her from outside her home at 6 p.m. on Thursday.

Among those in attendance were Logansport Mayor Chris Martin, who had a special proclamation designating April 2, 2020, as Helen Freshour Coleman day to commemorate the event.

“We just couldn’t let this go by without something,” said her cousin, Markay Martin, who started organizing the event and received help from other family members.

She is not related to the mayor.

Logansport Police had squad cars blocking the Market Street entrance to West Roselawn Drive, where she lives with her son. The group of well-wishers just stood by their cars and sang to maintain social distancing.

Mayor Martin said that because of COVID-19 there can’t be a big presentation of the proclamation or reading it off. But he was glad to be there.

“It’s not every day that you get a 100-year-old woman who’s dedicated her life to Logansport and Cass County who’s a grandmother, a great-grandmother and here recently a great-great-grandmother,” the mayor said. “I’m really excited to be able to celebrate this day with Helen.”

The proclamation noted that Coleman was born in Royal Center to John and Mary Freshour and married Gilbert “Gib” Coleman on July 10, 1940. They had two sons, Ron Coleman of Lake Placid, Florida, and Tom Coleman of Logansport, it states.

A lifelong Cass County resident, Helen Coleman worked at Streu’s Market on College Hill, and the family sold vegetables from their huge garden.

She remains active, playing along with Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy and never missing Sunday Mass. A member of All Saints Catholic Church, she is known there as “Canasta Queen.”

“Helen is still the very same kind, grateful and positive person. She is always the first to say ‘thank you’ and ‘how are you’,” the proclamation states.

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117. Twitter: @JamesDWolfJr

Reach James D. Wolf Jr. at james.wolf@pharostribune.com or 574-732-5117. Twitter: @JamesDWolfJr

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