Share Via Email

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

Lakewood Resident Celebrates 98 Years with Seafood Feast

If you could choose anything for a birthday meal, what would it be? For Straughan Richardson, clam chowder, crabcakes, fish and oysters were on the menu. For his 98th birthday on August 18, Straughan’s family teamed up with Lakewood’s team to surprise him with his favorite seafood feast.

“My three sisters and I planned to celebrate our dad’s birthday in Ophelia, Va., where he grew up. He loves to gather with the family under the elm tree by the farmhouse that is filled with his childhood memories,” said Straughan’s daughter, Sally Craymer. “We never imagined the pandemic would prevent us from seeing him; then we thought a few months perhaps, but we could not fathom it continuing until for his birthday!”

As the big day approached, Sally wrote an email requesting options for celebrating her father. She was determined to make the day special despite COVID-19 restrictions. Having grown up by the water in the Northern Neck, Straughan had requested a seafood platter for his celebration. Dining Services Director Eric Flynn delivered the surprise and stayed while he enjoyed lunch.

The treat came on the heels of a socially distanced visit with Sally in Lakewood’s climate-controlled visitation pods, followed by a birthday song from several other members of his family outside on his balcony.

“What a grand celebration we had! So many people worked to ensure my father felt loved,” Sally said. “He had balloons on his walker for the tent visit. The chef did not just drop off the mouth-watering seafood platter, but took time to chat and learned dad was married for 70 years and 7 months!” 

“We watched him open gifts as we belted out our song! Great-grandchildren who had not seen him in awhile repeatedly shouted ‘happy birthday, granddaddy!’ Others joined in via FaceTime. It was truly a cherished family time,” Sally explained. “Thank you, Lakewood, for making the day special for our dad and for us.”