100 and not out

2016-08-02 06:00
Mary Eagleson celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday 1 August with friends and family at the G.H. Starcke Centre in Hanover Park.  PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

Mary Eagleson celebrated her 100th birthday on Monday 1 August with friends and family at the G.H. Starcke Centre in Hanover Park. PHOTO: Chevon Booysen

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A celebratory mood was present at the G.H. Starcke Centre in Hanover Park on yesterday (Monday) morning when staff and seniors celebrated the birthday of the 100-year-old Mary Eagleson.

Eagleson, nee Eastland, enjoyed birthday celebrations with friends and family with sweet treats and refreshments.

Daphne Isaacs, Eagleson’s niece, explains Eagleson was born on 1 August 1916.

“She had four siblings, two sisters and two brothers. Both her parents died when she was 18 months old and her and her sisters were brought up in St. George’s Orphanage for girls. Eagleson had no biological children but she virtually reared at least 100,” Isaacs says.

Eagleson worked as a seamstress for about 40 years for the same company and when she retired at 60 years old, she cared for the children of working mothers in her neighbourhood – Alicedale Estate – where she lived with her husband for about 60 years. “In 1962 she ‘mothered’ a three-month-old boy whose parents split up and he stayed with her after marrying and having children – who she also reared. And then without much warning they emigrated to Australia about a decade ago; leaving her ‘homeless’,” Isaacs recalls.

“Through all this she never complained and accepted whatever came her way. Anyone who knows her will agree that she is the kindest, most generous, warm, loving and forgiving person alive and that is probably why she has been blessed to live to 100,” Isaacs says.

She adds the family has received much support from Eagleson’s dear friend and ex-colleague who has helped to take care of her century-old friend.

“There is one person I would like to thank in particular. Francis Juries worked with my aunt and remained a friend and is now like a daughter to her. Juries visits her every week and has been doing so for the entire time she has been at the senior centre,” she says.

“Eagleson has many nieces, nephews, friends and children she looked after but none of us, myself included, has been as faithful as Juries who is at least 30 years her junior – it says a lot,” Isaacs gratefully says.

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