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Ennis Van DeGrate Sr. celebrates 100th birthday

Born in 1922, DeGrate humbled by friends and family celebrating his special day.

BELLMEAD, Texas — A Central Texan has hit the century mark!

Ennis DeGrate Sr. is turning 100 years old and on Sunday friends and family gathered at the Bellmead Civic Center to celebrate him.

"This is kind of a big reunion and so we're all super excited to be able to honor him this way," DeGrate's Granddaughter Shonda White said. "You know, when he walks through the door we know he's just going to be, just because he is a very humble man, when he sees, like, the throne chairs and all that he's just it's gonna really blow his mind that we really love him. We want this to be all about him today."

DeGrate was born in 1922. It's safe to say life then is nothing like it is now.

DeGrate's family says he never let the outside world affect him. He was always a hard working, humble and honest man. He loves all of his children and grandchildren dearly. He even says at 100 years old, he feels great.

"I feel pretty good," DeGrate said sitting in his throne. "Hard work brought me to who I am now and rest. Go to bed at night."

His family got a great chuckle out of that one. 

DeGrate's granddaughter Shonda took interest in her grandfather's life so much so that she wrote a book about him.

Talking to the many generations of her family, she asked her grandfather 5 questions about his life and jus let him talk. 

In a book titled, The Understatement of Plowing, White talks about the stories her grandfather shared with her. Detailing his life as a sharecropper and a family man. 

She says he never let many situations affect how he lived his life. He just wanted to provide for his family and help others.

"You got to do for folks. You help people. That's how you make it," DeGrate said.

His family and friends all shared in his life's accomplishments. They laughed and they clapped and they sang him happy birthday. 

100 years of life is nothing to sneeze at. Especially being a black man in Texas. DeGrate is one of the few that gets to see 100 and his family is cherishing every moment of his life.

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