A dream come true: 102-year-old local sings on radio
By Taylor Hale
PORTAGE COUNTY – An area senior lived out her dream of singing on the radio at 102 years old last month.
Lilly Johnson of Maple Ridge sang Silent Night on 107.9 the Big Cheese on Christmas Eve, living out her childhood dream of singing on the radio.
“My parents sang at home,” Johnson said. “And they used to want me to sing with them. I remember I kept singing and singing. And my dad would always say, ‘sing another song.’”
Maple Ridge Activity Director Karl Kiefer heard Johnson speak about her desire to sing on a radio station and immediately took action. He contacted various stations around the county before hearing back from 107.9 the Big Cheese.
“It was only a couple of months ago that she mentioned it to me,” Kiefer said about Johnson’s musical dream. “We always do as much as we can for our residents to give them a positive experience. So I kept it in the back of my mind for the day and started looking”
Maple Ridge offers senior memory care options for residents, but Kiefer frequently goes out of his way to spread joy throughout the facility.
“We all try to do as much as we can for the residents here,” he explained.
Johnson’s two living sons were excited to see their mother singing. Wayne, 74, and Dean, 68, live in Portage County. Wayne said he doesn’t remember his mother singing much when he was younger, but loved seeing her in the limelight.
“I couldn’t believe it. It was amazing,” Wayne said. “It blew my mind, I thought she did pretty good for her age.”
When Johnson finished her song, she was cheered on by the entire studio. She said she hopes to go back and sing next year. She is still working on picking out another song for next Christmas Eve.
To see the full video of Johnson singing, visit the 107.9 the Big Cheese Facebook page.