Ethlyn O. McCleave of Gladstone turned 100 years old July 21. With a T-shirt with the words “COVID-19 ruined my birthday 2020” hanging on a canopy offering her shade, McCleave managed to celebrate her milestone birthday with a car parade.

The parade started at Grace Baptist Church, 3101 NE Vivion Road, and traveled past her home on Northeast 62nd Terrace. A city fire truck started the parade, which included about 23 vehicles with some riders stopping to hand off presents and cards.

Ethlyn McCleave’s daughter, Annasue McCleave Wilson, said her mother, born in Princeton, was a community leader all her life.

After teaching in a one-room schoolhouse in north Missouri, Ethlyn went on to college, taking a hiatus during World War II to be a bonafide Rosie the Riveter. She was a federal employee for more than 25 years, culminating as a Housing and Urban Development administrator who was responsible for the awarding of contracts to minority businesses.

As a volunteer, Ethlyn opened the first head start and clothes closet locations in the Northland. She was married for 75 years to Earl McCleave, who died in 2015.