Jean McCauley celebrates 100th birthday surrounded by family, friends and song

Jean McCauley thanks the many friends and family that gathered to celebrate her 100th birthday at the Tekhummah Seniors’ Hall.

by Betty Bardswich

TEKHUMMAH—It is doubtful that another person could fit into the Tekhummah Seniors’ Hall on Saturday, August 13 as family and friends gathered to wish Jean McCauley a very happy 100th birthday.

Mrs. McCauley’s grandson, Steve Martin, served as master of ceremonies for the celebration and welcomed family and friends from far and wide. Indeed, Mrs. McCauley’s daughter, Pat Hall, could be heard to say, “There are people here that I have not seen for 20 years.”

Mr. Martin began his talk by saying “Jean is a very, very special woman. She is 100 years young and Grandma has little time for people who complain. She doesn’t have glasses or hearing aids, she is excellent at crib and is sharp as a tack.” He continued by looking back to 1916, the year his grandmother was born, and commented that bread was seven cents then, stamps were two cents and only eight percent of homes had a telephone.

“A very special woman was born,” he said, and noted that Mrs. McCauley left Liverpool, ended up in Alberta and, at age 17, met and married Pete McCauley and moved to the Island in 1948.

“Grandma has 80 descendants,” Mr. Martin continued, “she loves going to bingo, plays crib, is a Red Hats member and sings at various functions. She is a self-sufficient person and she wouldn’t have it any other way.” He also mentioned that Mrs. McCauley also partakes of the odd drink of Captain Morgan’s dark rum.

Mrs. McCauley’s life was certainly a busy one as Mr. Martin attested. Some of the activities of this mother of six include canning hundreds of jars of jams, jellies and pickles, making eight loaves of bread every other day and tarts and buns, feeding cattle, a horse, turkeys and making maple syrup.

Mrs. McCauley’s grandchildren spoke at the party of their memories of grandma when they were growing up, including brown sugar sandwiches, money under their pillows, sleepovers, popcorn and big dinners. “So many great memories about a great woman,” one granddaughter said. “It is such a blessing to have you in our lives.”

There were best wishes from a host of dignitaries for Mrs. McCauley, including, MPP Michael Mantha, MP Carol Hughes, Governor General David Johnson, Ontario’s Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Ontario Premier Kathleen Wynne and Lorrie Leeson on behalf of Tehkummah Reeve Eric Russell. She also received flowers from the United Church Women and best wishes from the Tehkummah Seniors’ Club.

Music was provided at the function by Tim Hall and Lori Gordon. Mr. Hall had written a song when his grandmother turned 80 and now played ‘Granny’s Song’ for her 100th birthday. “She is a living legend,” he added.