Carolee Courtney Johnson

Carolee Courtney Johnson celebrated her 95th birthday Monday with a drive-by parade organized by her husband and church.

Family and friends lined up in Somerset earlier this week for a special celebration.

Carolee Courtney Johnson turned 95 years young and was treated to a drive-by birthday celebration in front of her home on Monday afternoon. Several were able to stop and visit.

“My deacon and his wife bought me a beautiful decorated cake,” Carolee, who attends Somerset’s First Baptist Church, said. “They cut that and we shared it with everybody. I think they had a really good time. It was a blessed day.”

One of the secrets to Carolee’s longevity is leading a full life with plenty of adventure. To celebrate birthdays 88 and 92, she went skydiving. 

“It was just something I wanted to do,” she said, “and I loved it. I’d seen it on television and thought I’d like to do that. Everyone thought I was crazy.”

With her daughter and son-in-law both working for the federal government, Carolee was also able to travel — visiting them in Germany, France, Haiti, Syria and Côte d’Ivoire in Africa.

“I just kind of followed them around,” Carolee laughed. “I didn’t get to go to Korea. I was getting ready to go but they were going to send him in the other direction.…

“Africa was really a wonderful trip.”

Born and raised in Indiana, Carolee raised four children and worked for 23 years at an aircraft plant before retiring with her first husband to Dale Hollow Lake. She decided to stay in Kentucky after he passed away a year and a half later.

“For one thing, the people are real friendly,” Carolee said. “I’ve made a lot of friends here and my church family has just been super wonderful. I have no desire to live in a large city; this is plenty big enough for me. I can do what I need to do here.”

 Carolee later met Darrell Johnson, whom she married in February 2005.

“We haven’t gone much [since the pandemic],” she added. “We go to the store and doctor appointments but we just felt like it was safer to stay at home. We’ve managed very well, though. You just do what you have to do.”

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