Rachel Fox has lived through two pandemics. She celebrated her 105th birthday with a patio celebration, parade and a visit from the West Bloomfield police and fire departments. 

Rachel Fox celebrated her 105th birthday on Thursday, June 11 outside of the Fleischman building, surrounded by Jewish Senior Life (JSL) workers, and was surprised with a parade of cars driven by her family and a visit from the West Bloomfield police and fire department. 

Fox was not only celebrating this milestone birthday, but she was also rejoicing in the fact that she beat COVID-19. Fox was diagnosed with the novel coronavirus back in April, but had only a mild case. 

Rachel Fox waving to JSL workers. Corrie Colf | Detroit Jewish News

This is the second pandemic Fox has lived through. When she was just three years old, the Spanish Flu, or the 1918 flu pandemic, had broken out worldwide. She also lived through the polio epidemic. 

The 1918 pandemic and the polio [were] worse than this pandemic,” Fox said. “They just couldn’t do anything for the people before they got sick. Now they can help them.” 

Born in Montreal in 1915, Fox has moved multiple times throughout her life, including North and South Dakota, Wisconsin and Minnesota. She married her husband Sidney in Minneapolis and then moved to Detroit, since there were more jobs here, settling in Plymouth to raise her son, Michael. Fox now has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. 

Rachel Fox waving to family in their car. Corrie Colf | Detroit Jewish News

“I’m glad I did turn 105. I hope anyone reaching my age is well and can enjoy their kids and grandkids,” Fox said. “Enjoying them is the best. I am very grateful for my family.” 

Rachel Fox waving to more family. Corrie Colf | Detroit Jewish News

After her grand entrance surrounded by JSL workers, her family drove around the circle with their decorated cars, honking their horns while Fox waved to them. Afterwards, Fox was surprised with another parade of West Bloomfield police officers and the fire department who came in with their sirens and lights flashing. 

The officers then got out of their cars and wished Fox a happy birthday, and then continued by serenading her with the ”Happy Birthday song. 

West Bloomfield police and fire departments singing to Rachel. Corrie Colf | Detroit Jewish News

Fox is the oldest resident that Fleischman has ever had, according to Mary Blowers, program coordinator at Fleischman Residence. Her secret to living a long, prosperous life? Always remember to be happy. 

“You should live your life and be happy with what you have. Don’t look at others with jealousy.  Look at what you have,” Fox said. “I have had some hardships, but I look at the good things I have and they make me happy. That is how I lived my life.” 

Bella the therapy dog. Corrie Colf | Detroit Jewish News