Celebrating her 105th birthday next month would have been reason enough for Ella Mae Johnson to get excited. Finding out that she was chosen to be a special guest at President-elect Barack Obama's inauguration was more than she could have imagined.
"I just want to go," she said. "My great-grandchildren will say of their grandma, 'She was there.' "
The Cleveland Heights woman started her multifaceted career in public service 80 years ago as a social worker, helping a widowed Louise Stokes and her young sons, Lou and Carl - who, respectively, went on to become a longtime Cleveland congressman and the first black mayor of a major U.S. city.
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