Oklahoma leapling woman becomes 100 years old on 25th birthday

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Mary Lea Forsythe (left) of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, receives her certificate of induction into Centenarian Chapter of Oklahoma. — ABC News/File
 Mary Lea Forsythe (left) of Sand Springs, Oklahoma, receives her certificate of induction into Centenarian Chapter of Oklahoma. — ABC News/File

In a rare event, a northeastern Oklahoma woman has become a centenarian today despite celebrating her 25th birthday, according to the Daily Caller.

Mary Lea Forsythe, a leapling, celebrates her 25th birthday on Thursday but in reality, she is turning 100 years old.

Leaplings is the term used to refer to people born on Leap Day which falls on February 29, an event that occurs after every four years.

Mary was born on a leap day in 1924 in Sand Springs.

She has celebrated her birthdays during non-leap years two or three times, including alongside her late husband William Wayne Forsythe, who was born March 6, according to ABC7.

A young Mary Lea Forsythe with her husband William Wayne Forsythe. — People via Kerry Nau
A young Mary Lea Forsythe with her husband William Wayne Forsythe. — People via Kerry Nau

"I always thought I was blessed," Mary reportedly said. "It was so much fun. We celebrated whenever we wanted to."

The couple visited a diner on William's birthday, where the server was sceptical about their claim to share the March 6 birthday.

"His birthday is March 6, and mine is Feb 29. And there is no 29th on the calendar this year. So, mine is March 6," she reportedly told the server at the diner.

The couple were singers, performing with banjo bands in communities and restaurants in Tulsa.

Mary, a mother of two, grandmother of five, and great-grandmother of 11, was also a law firm secretary and an author.

"Mary Lea loves all things musical and plays the piano and mandolin. Her favourite song is Sitting at the Feet of Jesus. Mary Lea reminds us to all Read the Bible. We welcome her into the Centenarians of Oklahoma Hall of Fame!" the nonprofit Centenarians of Oklahoma said in a statement.

Beau Wilson, the vice mayor of Sand Springs, where the centenarian spent her entire life, declared February 29, 2024, as "Mary Lea Rogers Forsythe Day", according to the Sand Springs Leader.

Mary reportedly survives her seven siblings. The "You Are Fantastic" author reportedly said, "I just really enjoy living. I’ve always said I’m going to live a long time. My aunt lived to be 107, and I’m going to surpass her."