CHICAGO (NewsNation Now) — Betty White’s life and legacy was honored in her hometown Saturday, before what would have been her 100th birthday, with her favorite things and pet adoptions.
Not even the 20 degree temperatures could stop fans from gathering in downtown Oak Park, Illinois.
“I’m here because my youngest sister’s name is Betty, and our maiden name is White,” one party attendee said.
“My 7-year-old and 9-year-old boy absolutely love The Golden Girls. It is on every morning, every morning they sit there they want to eat their breakfast, and they watch it,” another party attendee said.
The celebration featured several guest speakers, including an appearance from the vocalist of The Golden Girls show theme song, Cindy Fee.
“I think one of the reasons it is endured so long is the fact that it’s really about women’s issues, all women and the same issues happen to all of us no matter what age we are. It’s an affirmation of Betty White’s life, which to me is something we should all aspire to live by,” Fee said.
The party also included special treats like the Betty White mocha, a drink that featured white chocolate, and a three-foot cake with “Be like Betty an Oak Park treasure.”
It was a shock for many to see White pass on New Year’s Eve, about two weeks before she turned 100. Her cause of death, provided by her doctor, was a stroke suffered Christmas Day, according to the Associated Press.
Monday, Jan. 17, would have been Betty White’s 100th birthday, and while she couldn’t make it, she’s still being gifted; the Illinois Senate announced Jan. 17 will be officially known as Betty White Day in Illinois.
The actress and comedian was also honored on her birthday in other cities across the country.
In tribute of the beloved animal advocate, the Los Angeles Zoo created a special white rose memorial garden where fans can remember White with messages and drawings that will be strung around the area. The memorial garden is located in Allen Ludden Plaza, named after her late husband, the actor and game show host who died in 1981.
There is also a self-guided “Betty’s L.A. Zoo Tour” featuring 16 stops where visitors can learn about White’s contributions. The experience is also available online at www.lazoo.org/betty-white.
NewsNation affiliate KTLA contributed to this report.