Georgia Bulletin

The Newspaper of the Catholic Archdiocese of Atlanta

Photo By Michael Alexander
Assisted by Deacon Nicholas Goodly, background center, Father Michael Onyekuru, right, pastor of St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville, conducts a special blessing for 100-year-old Lionel Joseph Washington, Sr. Members of the congregation, like one of his eight adult children, Lenore Banks, left, extended their hands toward Washington during the blessing. Washington, in turn, extended his hand and shared his blessing with others.


St. John the Evangelist parishioner celebrates 100th

By GEORGIA BULLETIN STAFF | Published April 4, 2019

HAPEVILLE—Lionel Joseph Washington Sr., surrounded by friends and family, marked his 100th birthday with several mid-March celebrations.

Washington, born March 14, 1919, in Chicago, Illinois, moved to Georgia after retirement. He has been a longtime member of St. John the Evangelist Church, Hapeville.

His family honored him with a bowling party March 12 in Fayetteville, dinner at an area restaurant March 14 and a parish community lunch and Mass at St. John the Evangelist on March 16. Washington received a special blessing from Father Michael Onyekuru, pastor.

“Lionel has always been a survivor, a provider and the ultimate Mr. Fix-it,” wrote family members in a birthday bulletin message. “A real people person with a big smile, Lionel is loved by all.”

Washington is the oldest of eight children born to Maud and Lionel Charles Washington. In October 1940, he married Celestine Harden and they raised eight children. The Washingtons were married for 75 years until her death five years ago.

Washington served in World War II from 1944-45 and witnessed the iconic flag raising at Iwo Jima. As a civilian, he held many different jobs.

The Washingtons, after their move to Georgia, were founding members of their College Park Neighborhood Watch program. As a result, neighbors affectionately called him “Mr. Mayor.”

He was an active member of Knights of Peter Claver at the Hapeville parish. An avid bowler since 1958, Washington joined leagues in Georgia. He continued to bowl at Fayetteville Fun Bowl until the age of 99.

Washington has 19 grandchildren, 30 great-grandchildren and 12 great-great-grandchildren.