Jean celebrates a century
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.