SANDFIELD—The venerable Andy Watson of Sandfield, long-time proprietor of Watson’s Store, among many other activities during his long life, was feted by his family and friends in honour of his 100th birthday last Sunday. Over 300 well-wishers stopped by to offer their congratulations.
The event, held at the Sandfield Schoolhouse Community Hall, saw a receiving line that went out the door for most of the afternoon—a testament to the affect Mr. Watson, and his wife Dot, have had on the community over the last 100 years.
Fellow centenarians Jean McCauley and Audrey Williamson, both of Tehkummah, stopped in to pay their respects and officially welcome Mr. Watson to their elite club.
“Just be yourself and play lots of crib,” was Ms. McCauley’s advice to Mr. Watson on being your best 100.
As part of the celebration, Central Manitoulin Mayor Richard Stephens was on hand to make a special presentation to the senior Watsons.
“It’s a big honour to be here today,” the mayor said, addressing the crowd and giving hints as to who he was there to honour.
“These people have been here all their lives and certainly left their mark,” noting that the plethora of Watsons will keep the family name going, to many chuckles from the crowd.
“Every year, Central Manitoulin decides who the Senior of the Year is,” the mayor continued. “It took council some time to pick two deserving seniors. There were two firsts in this: that the award is going to be given to two seniors; and the second first, is that it’s part of a 100th birthday celebration.
The first senior is a life member of the Masonic Lodge in Little Current, was the past clerk of Sandfield, was the Sandfield roads superintendent and a member of the Sandfield School Board. The second senior was a member of the Sandfield Women’s Institute, the Mindemoya Horticultural Society and the Mindemoya Beautification Committee. Both these seniors owned and operated Watson’s Store for many years before handing it on to the next generation. During their time running Watson’s Store, they acted as postmaster and postmistress, ran the LCBO agency store, are two of the founding members of the Sandfield Merrymakers and are both active in the Fairview United Church.
Mayor Stephens then awarded Andy and Dot Watson a framed certificate acknowledging them, jointly, as Central Manitoulin Seniors of the Year.
Mr. Watson thanked everyone for coming to his birthday celebration.
The mayor joked that it is sometimes hard to track the Watsons down as one must look in the Manitowaning phone directory to call them, mail them through a Tehkummah address while they pay their taxes in Central Manitoulin.
Mr. Watson received a new golf shirt with the word ‘Watson 100’ emblazoned on the front and back from his golfing crew and as well as a new ‘100’ decal on his golf cart.
The day’s events concluded with a family barbecue with 85 people in attendance.