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Long-time local hairdresser celebrates 100th birthday
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Rae Lanier celebrates her 100th birthday with a party at The Lodge at Bethany.

The day began for Rae Minick Lanier just like every Thursday had for quite some time — with a hair appointment at Sassy Hair on South Main Street. Unique to March 7, though, was the birthday party planned for later that day at The Lodge at Bethany. 

Long-time Brooklet resident Rae Lanier celebrated 100 years of age with a lunchtime party for family and friends.

Children Madge Edwards, Carlyle Buelvas and Jimmy Lanier hosted the party for their mom.

Some of Lanier’s memories are fading, but she treasures a wealth of time spent in Bulloch County.

“I was the baby girl of 15, with three boys younger than me,” said Lanier. “We were reared in a happy, Christian home. We were in church every Sunday. My mama played the piano, and the preacher would say when we walked in, ‘Church can start now — the Minicks are here.’”

After Sunday dinner, the Minicks’ yard was full. 

“We played ball until time to go back to church. We hooped and hollered and had a good time. And every night, Mama came in our room and we took turns reading the Bible,” she said. 

Lanier said she remembers walking to school, with her lunch in a small pail. 

“Two biscuits with meat, a sweet potato and jelly,” she remembered.

Daughter Madge Edwards said she remembers her mom telling the story that the brothers — there were eight of them — didn’t want to carry their lunches because it wasn’t the cool thing to do, so the sisters, seven of them, would carry the brothers’ lunches, too. 

“But then at lunchtime, they’d find the sisters to get their lunches,” Edwards said.

When Rae married James Lanier, whom she said she’d grown up with and known her whole life, she began working as a hair dresser out of her home, having completed her schooling at Paris Beauty School in Savannah.

“She never turned anyone away,” said Edwards. “Night or day, her door was always open.”

When the Lanier family built a new home, James requested that the new home not include a salon, Edwards said. 

“And in less than six weeks, she went to work in a Statesboro salon,” she added. 

Lanier worked at The Fountain of Youth in the downtown area, shampooing hair and rolling perms. It was there that she first met Janice Hunnicutt Davis, who later opened her own shop, Sassy Hair, and Melanie Spence, long-time employee at Sassy Hair.

“I’ve known Mrs. Rae forever,” said Davis. “When I was in high school, we had our senior superlative pictures made at her house.”

Lanier worked for a time at the Gilded Cage next, and then moved to Davis’ shop, Sassy Hair, where she worked three days a week until she was 92 years old. 

“When she retired, she got a card from the governor, congratulating her as the oldest hairdresser still working in the state of Georgia,” said Spence.

Lanier never tired of her work or of being active in the community.

“She’s a people person,” said Edwards. “She’s never been a home body, she liked to be out with people.”

Edwards said that besides her long-time work as a hairdresser, her mom was a volunteer for Day for Southern for 40 years, a former member of the Order of the Eastern Star, served as the Grand Marshall for Brooklet Peanut Festival parade, took part in a canasta club with the same women for over 50 years and was a Dean Day Smith Award recipient. 

Edwards said that before her mother often said to her during phone conversations, “I had the best day today” and would go on to elaborate about her day. 

“She never complained, always had the best attitude,” she added.

Lanier’s positivity is evident when she boasts, “I’ve been so blessed all my life. I had the best husband. Best children. Best in-laws. Best family. Best job. I’ve had a happy life.”  

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Rae Lanier, seated, poses with her family at her birthday party. Shown from left to right are Joe Edwards, Madge Edwards, Jimmy LanIer, Beverly Lanier and Carlyle Buelvas.
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