SELMA – Long-time Selma resident Norma Elizabeth Mulligan celebrated her 95th birthday by gathering with family on Mother’s Day May 12.
When asked about the secret to a long life, Mulligan, née Peterson, said there really is no secret.
“I hadn’t planned on living this long, but the blessings include the deeper relationships I’ve developed with my children and the joys of my grandchildren and great-grandchildren.”
More than 40 children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, great-great grandchildren and other family and friends met for lunch at the home of her grandson, Warren Bisel in Fowler, to mark the occasion.
Mulligan was born to Swedish immigrants in Santa Ana on May 14, 1924. Her parents, Richard and Dagmar Peterson, separately immigrated to the Central Valley, where they met and married. Her father worked as a machinist in Coalinga, Long Beach and Santa Ana before returning the San Joaquin Valley to add farming to his work, settling just outside of Selma to live and farm grapes.
It was in Selma at a Saturday night concert at the bandstand in Lincoln Park that she became acquainted with her soon-to-be husband, third generation Selman, Jim Mulligan, Sr.
Jim and Norma Mulligan were married 69 years until Jim’s death in 2014. She still resides at the home build by her husband just outside of Selma on the land purchased by her husband’s grandfather in the early 1880s.
In attendance at her birthday celebration was her two younger sisters-in-law, Alice Mulligan and Johanna Mulligan; the three are the last of the Selma Mulligans of their generation.
Also in attendance were three of her six children, six grandchildren and numerous great- and great-great-grandchildren. A potluck lunch was served with homemade chocolate cake, ice cream and the birthday girl’s favorite, homemade moon cake.