Determined duo celebrates a century
Reaching 100 years takes some determination.
And two centenarians at a Ponsonby rest home have that quality.
Sister Carmel Mary and Norma Kemble reached the milestone within days of each other at St Catherine’s Rest Home.
Part of the secret to longevity lies in a person’s strong will, manager Sandra Hunt says.
“They are both very determined women. You know what they say – survival of the fittest – well it’s true. These two always know what they want.”
Ms Hunt says it is very unusual to have two residents celebrating such a milestone together.
Miss Kemble was born in Grey Lynn on August 30, 1912 and was a teacher for most of her life and still knows how to keep people in line, Ms Hunt says.
‘‘She’s always very much in control. She uses her schoolteacher voice and gives you the look if she doesn’t want you to do something – then we all know to behave.’’
Miss Kemble says the secret to living a long life is to always calmly take your time and avoid rushing.
Knowing how to look after yourself is also important, she says.
Miss Kemble was the only sixth form student at St Mary’s College in 1929 and went on to graduate from Auckland University in 1936 with a master of education. The university had just 1000 students compared with more than 40,000 today.
Auckland University vicechancellor Stuart McCutcheon said Miss Kemble would be one of the university’s most senior graduates in a letter of congratulations sent to her on her birthday.
Fellow centenarian Sister Mary, a former nurse from County Galway, Ireland, was born on September 2, 1912 and entered the convent after accompanying the mother superior of the Sis- ters of Mercy to New Zealand in 1954.
She has been a Sister of Mercy for 58 years.
Friends of Sister Mary say she has been a kind, gentle nurse who is ‘‘always up for an adventure and is a great giggler’’.
Ms Hunt says a fellow Irish centenarian at St Cath- erine’s was quick to remind Sister Mary to apply for her centenarian bounty of €2500 from the Irish president.
Both women marked their birthdays last week with a joint celebration at St Catherine’s with family and friends.
Double delight: Sister Carmel Mary, left, and Norma Kemble have both celebrated their 100th birthdays at St Catherine’s Rest Home.