Era Daniell, left, and Vera Rozier prepare to make their entrance into the Wewa Senior Center. [ David Adlerstein | The Star ]
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Vera and Era: Twins celebrate 100th birthday

It wasn’t quite a one-in-a-billion birthday, but nearly that.

With statistics showing the odds of identical twins marking a centennial birthday to be about one in 700 million, the Gulf County community packed the Wewahitchka Senior Citizens Center Feb. 8 to revel in the occasion of Vera Herring Rozier and Era Herring Luckie Daniell reaching that milestone.

Dressed impeccably, their silver hair coiffed for the occasion, Vera and Era were treated to a long receiving line fit for royalty, at an event meticulously planned by Vera’s daughter, Linda Rozier Davis, of Brandon, Mississippi.

One hundred years earlier, in a log cabin in Butler County, Alabama, known as the state’s strawberry capital, Vera and Era had been born to Tom Herring, a logger and sharecropper who himself was born in 1877, and his third wife Era Exa “Exie” Smith. 

Together the two infants weighed just five pounds, small enough to both fit in a shoe box, and to ensure their survival, the doctor wrapped them in a quilt and sat with them in front of the fireplace all night long.

The cabin had no indoor plumbing or running water, and the two girls grew up doing their homework in front of the fireplace under the glow of a lantern.

The girls attended Moore Academy in Pine Apple, Alabama, where Hank Williams, who was born in Butler County, and his band played at two school events. When Era won a beauty contest, Williams presented her with a gift.

In June 1946, Erea married Gene Luckie, and later moved to Panama City. Four months later, Vera married Malcolm Rozier, and they later moved to Pensacola.

In 1956, to be closer to the hunting and fishing which he loved, Rozier moved his family to Wewahitchka and a year or so after that, the Luckies moved to Wewa.

In 1960, Rozier bought the house where his family has lived ever since. In 1961, after Vera graduated from beauty school, he added a shop on to the house, where she continued to do ladies’ hair until fully retiring in 2016, at age 92.

Vera’s other daughter, Doris Wray, lives now with her mother in that home at the corner of Highway 71 North and Texas Street.

Tragically, Gene Luckie perished in a head-on collision at age 33 and Era later married Emmett Daniell in 1981, and she moved to Port St. Joe. She would go on to become a dynamic part of the Port St. Joe Garden Club, serving as its president, winning many a blue ribbon and becoming instrumental in service projects, including creating a butterfly garden at the elementary school.

In addition to a lavish lunch buffet of Boston butt donated by Rich’s IGA and served up to about 180 people by staff from Gulf Correctional Institution, the gathering of family, friends, and senior citizens heard from Eddie Fields, head of the Gulf County Senior citizens, who said grace, and from Sheriff Mike Harrison, who spoke on behalf of First Baptist Church. He noted that the twins were one year older than the county, which was formed in 1925.

In his remarks, Port St Joe Mayor Rex Buzzett called the twins the matriarchs of both Wewa and Port St. Joe, of all of Gulf County. “They’ve seen a lot,” he said. “You’ve lived a wonderful life.”

County Commissioner David Rich presented the twins with copies of a resolution passed by the county commission which declared Feb. 8 as Era and Vera Day in Gulf County.

Davis read a letter from Gov. Ron DeSantis sending his best wishes. 

To this day, Vera continues to drive to the senior center, the grocery store, the post office and to church, while Era has wound down her regular trips to Duren’s Piggly Wiggly and to the Church of Christ in Port. St. Joe..

Attending this gala event was Era’s daughter Yvita Silcox, and husband Oscar, of DeFuniak Springs, and her son  Ronald Luckie and wife Wilma, of Live Oak, and Era’s grandson Jason Luckie, of Wewa. 

Vera’s only grandson John D. Wray, his wife Esmeralda and their son Greyson of Panama City Beach attended. Three of Vera’s granddaughters and five great-grandchildren who live in Tennessee and another granddaughter and great grandson who live in Mississippi were unable to attend.

Davis expressed her appreciation to her husband Bill and other family members for their hard word in helping to decorate the senior center. She said the work put in by the Wewa Senior Center to round up decorations and food donations helped make the event a great success.

“It was just an awesome turnout, the community showed their love,” said Davis. “I think everybody seemed to have fun. It was a great time, a great celebration and a great countywide gathering of unity of spirit.”

Meet the Editor

David Adlerstein, The Apalachicola Times’ digital editor, started with the news outlet in January 2002 as a reporter.

Prior to then, David Adlerstein began as a newspaperman with a small Boston weekly, after graduating magna cum laude from Brandeis University in Waltham, Massachusetts. He later edited the weekly Bellville Times, and as business reporter for the daily Marion Star, both not far from his hometown of Columbus, Ohio.

In 1995, he moved to South Florida, and worked as a business reporter and editor of Medical Business newspaper. In Jan. 2002, he began with the Apalachicola Times, first as reporter and later as editor, and in Oct. 2020, also began editing the Port St. Joe Star.

Wendy Weitzel The Star Digital Editor

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