Conway resident John D. Pearl celebrated his 100th birthday on July 3 with friends and family.

Pearl is the grandson of Conway’s first mayor, Lorenzo D. Pearle. 

On July 3, John celebrated this milestone at the Conway Regional Rehabilitation Hospital. Pearl’s party included country music, colorful banners, and a farmer themed cake. 

The cake has so much more meaning behind it other than being just icing with a tractor on top, according to Pearl’s niece, Kathy Windle. 

“He bought a farm and grew food for everybody,” said WIndle. “John gardened until he was 96; we’d go out and pick strawberries and hear his stories.”

Growing up with Pearl, there were fair shares of good times, according to his son, Larry Pearl. 

Since he was seven years old, John Pearl was up and working, making some income for his labor. Earning five cents a day by picking up rocks along the road, John didn’t stop there, and continued to work until retiring and moving on to his passion of gardening. 

Windle recalled her uncle also loved playing football.

“He played football in high school for two years when he wasn’t even in school because he was so good,” said Windle. “When he got out of school he didn’t go in to the military because he had a bad knee.”

Instead, Pearl started working at Timex in Little Rock, where he quickly became a superviser. 

“He’s like a second dad to me,” said Windle. “My fondest memory is going out and picking strawberries. He was a wild man.”

Along with being the grandson to the first mayor of Conway, Pearl’s aunt, Adah Pinson, was the first switchboard operator. 

In between the mingling and meeting with the Birthday Boy, the staff, family and friends of Pearl joined in to wish him a happy birthday, and while cutting the cake, he made sure to get everyone their slice before enjoying his own piece. 

The secret to long life, Pearl concluded, “work hard, eat good, don’t smoke, drink or shoot.”

Words to live long and happily by, according to Pearl’s family.