Georgia woman celebrates 105 years of life

Born in Lawrenceville on Jan. 7, 1918, Winnell Cunningham-Shaw has lived through a history of generations.

ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - A Stone Mountain woman is celebrating a major milestone.

Mrs. Winnell Cunningham-Shaw turned 105-years-old on Jan. 7.

Cunningham-Shaw was born on Jan. 7, 1918, in Lawrenceville to Dora Streaty and Linn Cunningham.

In 1930 at the age of 12, she relocated to Atlanta to live with her aunt after her mother and grandmother passed away one year apart.

Mrs. Shaw received her primary education from the largest African American public elementary school in Atlanta, Ashby Street Elementary, and her high school education from Booker Washington High School, the oldest high school in Atlanta.

At age 23 she married Frank Shaw, a 25-year-old Army soldier. They raised 4 children and remained married until his death.

Mrs. Shaw was a highly sought-after Seamstress, servicing her family, friends, and referrals in the community. She also loved and cared for children, even delivering a neighbor’s baby in January 1961.

After a long career as a popular seamstress ‘Ms. Nell” as she was affectionately known, retired from sewing and began enjoying retirement with her four children and 13 grandchildren.

Although she has short-term memory loss, she knows all of her children, holds a great conversation, and is hard to beat a game of Gin Rummy.

Just over one year ago Mrs. Shaw began enjoying the hobby of drawing with a large sketch pad.

Her mind is active and she draws almost every day. Her pictures are detailed animated drawings of things that apparently interested her over the years… women dressed fashionably, animals and pets, flowers and home furnishing, and drawings of people gathered together for different occasions

Mrs. Shaw’s daughter, Mary “Frankie” Shaw-Millens, has been her mother’s primary caregiver for several years.

Mary has been caring for her mother and her husband since the outbreak of Covid -19, both requiring constant care while she worked from home until recently because of her health concerns have had to move both of them to assisted living.

Jamarlo Phillips

Jamarlo Phillips

Jamarlo Phillips is Digital Content Producer for Atlanta News First and Peachtree TV.