Jean cel­e­brates a cen­tury

Southern Gazette (South Perth) - - Front Page - Tim Mayne

NEXT time you moan and groan about chores such as hav­ing to mow the lawn, think of 100-year-old Jean Sul­li­van.

The Man­ning res­i­dent and one-time dancer says cooking her own meals, wash­ing the dishes and regular walks are the se­cret to keep­ing fit and healthy.

Ms Sul­li­van spent last week sur­rounded by friends and fam­ily, in­clud­ing her 10 great­grand­chil­dren, a State Min­is­ter and jour­nal­ists ea­ger to share her story.

Her son Ken Sul­li­van said she was usu­ally a very pri­vate per­son but her face lit up at the throng of vis­i­tors.

“She nor­mally does not like mix­ing with other peo­ple and I am just won­der­ing whether it is the show busi­ness side of her that came out,” he said.

“I was amazed and very, very pleased to see her en­joy­ing all of the at­ten­tion.”

Ms Sul­li­van shares the same birth­day as jazz leg­end Bil­lie Hol­i­day, which could ex­plain the mu­sic and danc­ing bug that hit her at age 12 and con­tin­ued into adult­hood, lead­ing her to meet her hus­band, who was the drum­mer for the Jack Pate­man trio. The two re­united dur­ing a ball held at the Uni­ver­sity of WA and toured to­gether in the 1930s, mar­ry­ing in 1939.

When quizzed about her longevity, Ms Sul­li­van was un­fazed.

“I don’t know how I have made it this far, I just do it I guess,” she said, adding that she had never driven a car and pre­ferred to walk ev­ery­where.

She only eats fresh, un­pro­cessed foods.

Mr Sul­li­van said his mother had never suf­fered a se­ri­ous ill­ness.

“I think it is part of her ge­netic makeup – her mother lived to well over 100,” he said.

“The only prob­lem us kids had was that she named us Ken and Barb and when the dolls came out in the late 1950s Mum said ‘oh isn’t it nice they named dolls af­ter my chil­dren.”

“We have never re­cov­ered from that – so we’ve been known as Ken and Bar­bie all of our lives.”

Top: Jean Sul­li­van marks her 100th birth­day with her 10 great-grand­chil­dren. Left: Ms Sul­li­van mows the lawn, age 95. Right: with chil­dren Ken and Barb.

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