Good stock for long life

Central Leader - - News - By Lisa Har­ri­son

Ex­perts say eat­ing your veg­eta­bles and stay­ing away from cigarettes are the keys to a long and healthy life.

But Irene Doyle says it’s sim­ply a mat­ter of good genes.

The San­dring­ham res­i­dent cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day on Mon­day.

She has lived a life full of friends, fam­ily, love and ser­vice to the com­mu­nity.

“I come from a long-liv­ing fam­ily,” she says.

“My fa­ther was Cana­dian and he al­ways said we came from good stock.”

Mrs Doyle was born Irene Luney in Lyttleton, Eng­land, on Novem­ber 10, 1908.

Her fam­ily mi­grated to New Zealand when she was four years old and set­tled in Christchurch.

When Irene was 18, her mother died and she took on the re­spon­si­bil­ity for her five broth­ers and sis­ters.

She met her first hus­band Ge­orge Wil­son at a church dance where he was the or­gan­ist.

“She couldn’t re­sist the man play­ing the or­gan,” says her son Barry.

The cou­ple mar­ried in 1934 at the con­gre­ga­tional church in Christchurch and moved to Hen­don Ave in Mt Al­bert shortly af­ter, where Mrs Doyle lived for 67 years.

Mrs Doyle says Mt Al­bert changed a lot in the years she lived there.

It was a new sub­urb when she moved in and bought one of the first state houses.

“It was a nice sub­urb and there weren’t many peo­ple there, it was all new houses and pad­docks,” she says.

The cou­ple had four chil­dren, Barry, Be­van, Brian and Wendy, who all at­tended Owairaka Pri­mary and Mt Al­bert Gram­mar School.

Mrs Doyle’s hus­band died of can­cer aged 57.

But love came again in 1978 when she mar­ried next door neigh­bour Bill Doyle.

The two were mar­ried for 11 years be­fore he died in 1989.

Mrs Doyle gave 35 years of vol­un­teer ser­vice to Com­mu­ni­care in Avon­dale, and was a mem­ber the Mt Al­bert Se­nior Cit­i­zens Bowl­ing Club for more than 20 years.

She now lives in San­dring­ham’s Lex­ham Gar­dens.

“She’s been there two years and she al­ready runs the place,” says Barry.

Her fam­ily has been her great­est achieve­ment in life, she says.

“I haven’t done any­thing won­der­ful but I kept my fam­ily safe and I looked af­ter them,” she says.

“I am most proud of my fam­ily and they have all done well.”

Mrs Doyle cel­e­brated her birth­day with two par­ties, one for fam­ily and friends and one at Lex­ham Gar­dens.


Big day: San­dring­ham res­i­dent Irene Doyle and her son Barry Wil­son. Mrs Doyle cel­e­brated her 100th birth­day on Mon­day.

Younger days: Irene Doyle aged about three years old.

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