At her 100th birthday party outside Living Water Church in Aquebogue in August 2012, Vivian Bell was the liveliest person in the tent.
She sang. She danced. She hugged. She kissed.
“She’s the happiest person I’ve ever met in my life,” said Ms. Bell’s great-grandson, Ty Wilson, 25, of Wyandanch. “She has the energy of a much younger person.”
Ms. Bell, who was born Vivian Lenore Richardson, exhibited that exuberance right up until the end. She died Sunday afternoon at the age of 102.
Ms. Bell’s energy was something her great-grandson said he had a hard time explaining to friends growing up. He’d be called a liar, he said, when as a 5-year-old he’d tell his friends he had an 80-year-old great-grandmother who could still do a cartwheel.
“My friends would just shake their heads when I told them that,” Mr. Wilson said with a smile. “Or when I told them I was out shooting free throws with my great-grandma when she was 85.”
Mr. Wilson was joined at the party in 2012 by two cousins and his grandmother, Catherine Smith, one of Ms. Bell’s two children.
“I’m just so excited God allowed her to remain on this earth this long,” Ms. Smith said of her mother.
Ms. Bell, who was born Aug. 5, 1912, in East Orange, N.J., moved to Riverhead around 1948, her daughter said. She lived on Bell Avenue, a road that was named for her husband, a deacon.
In 2011, as she became a little less independent, she moved in with her daughter in Wyandanch.
Living Water associate pastor Rick Saladon said Ms. Bell was still performing in plays at the church up until the time she moved and she was sharp enough to not only read her lines but to improvise as well.
Pastor Saladon said the church planned the 100th birthday party for Ms. Bell for nearly a full year.
Asked to say a few words to those in attendance during the party, Ms. Bell grabbed the microphone and said, “Hello everybody. I love you all.”
Predeceased by a son, James, she is survived by her daughter, grandsons Tyrone Wilson and Rodney Smith, eight great-grandchildren and six great-great-grandchildren.
A memorial service will be held at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Oct. 11, at Living Water Church.