By Bev Jordan
Gloria McDonald turns 100 on Sunday and is celebrated surrounded by her loving family at Uniting Wirreanda West Pennant Hills.
When asked the secret to a long and happy life, she says it’s keeping busy and helping others.
“Never say there is nothing to do. There are always plenty of people needing help,” she says.
At 100 she is still knitting squares for blankets to donate to Wrap With Love. Born on May 15th 1922, Gloria McDonald Meurant, grew up in Port Kembla before the family moved to Enfield.
She met her husband Reginald McDonald at a local gathering and they were married at St Thomas’s in Enfield.
Tragedy struck the couple when their 13-year son Kevin was killed after being hit by a car walking to scouts. The couple’s daughter Julie was just 9 at the time.
Reginald worked as a plumbing contractor and then in early retirement qualified in remedial massage and hypnotherapy.
Gloria McDonald was a dress-maker and as a young woman she assisted in her husband’s business and ran her own babies’ and children’s wear shop.
She says they were very fortunate to be able to travel, and within several years of her husband’s death she was able to travel extensively with friends.
“My husband was a busy businessman but one day he just died. He was only 57.”
Gloria McDonald travelled a lot to the UK where she had a large network of family and friends. She lived in Thornleigh and then Carlingford before moving to the West Pennant Hills care home just five years ago.
“Even though I lost my son I have had a very busy and happy life,” she told the Hills to Hawkesbury News.
“I did lots of lovely travelling and I have done a lot of volunteer work which I have loved.”
Volunteering at Parramatta Courts was a highlight she says. When she stopped her court visits she started sewing gift bags for the charity Operation Christmas Child which she did until she was 95 years old.
She believes that helping others is the key to a happy life. “I can’t understand it when people say they haven’t got anything to do… find something to do. There is so much people can do.”
She says she has a wonderful daughter, Julie, and loves spending time with her two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren aged 13 to 18.
“They are brilliant,” she says. There was a special morning tea at Wirreanda to celebrate her big day as well as a family celebration with all her loved ones.