Uncle Gus turns 100
Spaniard’s Bay resident becomes province’s latest centenerian
By the time his birthday open house ended, Augustus Menchions was probably tired of shaking hands and having pictures taken.
With each new person walking up to him, Menchions smiled warmly, took their hand and prepared for the inevitable flash of a nearby camera. He made jokes with the dozens of friends and family who walked through the door of his Spaniard’s Bay home.
Menchions, or ‘Uncle Gus,’ as he was commonly referred, was celebrating a special occasion last Monday. He was in the midst of becoming this province’s latest centenarian, having reached the age of 100.
However, taking a quick glance at the way he holds himself and carries a conversation, it’d be hard to guess that.
“I don’t feel any different than I was when I was 16,” he said.
Wearing a bright blue birthday button and a shirt that read, “Who knew turning 100 could look this good?” Menchions chatted amicably with whoever wanted a minute to congratulate him on reaching the milestone. In between mouthfuls of vanilla birthday cake and fruit, he told The Compass about his time working on the Cape Spear Lighthouse with friend Ted Sparkes. Together, they poured the concrete for the base and constructed the rest of the new lighthouse in 1955.
Even now as the last surviving member of the crew that worked on the well-known lighthouse, Menchions still smiles at the thought of lighting the beacon at the top.
“When we lit the beacon, you could see it for 36 miles away,” he said, a small tear escaping from one of his eyes.
For his advanced age, Menchions is in good health. He only started walking with a cane a week prior to his birthday, and its only been five years since he stopped driving himself around town.
Even then, he did so because he didn’t want to hurt anyone.
The common notion around the food table is that Menchions still has an immense appetite. One visitor remarked she was bringing up a pot of soup the following day.
Quickly, Menchions reply.
“You won’t have very much to carry home,” he laughed.
The east end
Menchions and his siblings grew up in the east end of Bay Roberts. He was raised on Menchions Lane and moved to Spaniard’s Bay 18 years ago.
While in the east end, Uncle Gus fished, hunted and performed the other duties of the day.
He recounts a story of heading out for a day of partridge hunting when on the way back he and a friend got caught in a torrential downpour of rain.
“We were nearly drowned,” said Menchions.
Just up the road from his childhood home, Menchions and his buddies would find the time to strap on a pair of blades and play hockey on Menchions Pond in the wintertime.
Spaniard’s Bay resident Augustus Menchions (right) turned 100 last week. Here he is pictured with Port de Grave MHA Glenn Littlejohn, who gave the new centenerian a framed certificate.