100 YEARS YOUNG
Jean’s secret: three good meals a day
Jean Foster’s 100th birthday was officially on the weekend, but the Waipukurau centenarian was in hot demand all last week as she attended multiple celebrations organised by the organisations and clubs she’s dedicated many years of service to.
One of those was the Central Hawke’s Bay branch of the Red Cross who held a function to celebrate Jean’s milestone birthday, but also to present her two special awards — a 75-year long service award and the Meritorious Service Award.
Branch president Sherrie Bird said Jean initially joined the Omakere Red Cross when she and husband Alan moved to the area in 1952, and since that time had contributed in many ways to help with fundraising.
“Though the branch retired her from baking for our cake stall she still bakes her shortbread for us every year, and she attends monthly meetings,” Bird said.
Her Red Cross involvement followed years in nursing, some of that overseas during World War II, including nine months in New Caledonia in the convalescent depot for men mainly suffering from malaria.
Jean also spent 18 months stationed at a hospital in Bari, Italy, before returning to Ashburton where she nursed and then got married in 1948.
After moving to a ballot farm in Hautope, Jean became involved in many other community activities including the Waipawa Golf Club, about 50 members of which travelled from near and far for a surprise birthday party at the clubrooms last week.
Jean joined the club in the late 1950s, proving herself a handy player, getting down to a handicap of 15 at one point. As was common in her generation, Jean made her own clothes, as well as for her two children, John and Wendy, aided by her training as a seamstress before the war, said daughter Wendy Fryer.
A keen gardener, she was renowned for her roses, of which she had more than 100 planted at the family farm.
Having since moved into Waipukurau she had downsized the garden, but still grew vegetables and did all her own cooking.
Asked what were the biggest changes she had seen over the years, she said it was probably the advances in technology and cars went a lot faster. And her secrets to a long life? “Eating a good diet — three good meals a day.” Now a grandmother to six and great-grandmother to 12, Jean marked her 100th birthday on Saturday with a gathering of friends and family at Oruawharo Homestead.
‘A keen gardener, Jean was renowned for her roses, of which she had more than 100 planted at farm.’ the family
Jean Foster (centre), flanked by daughter-in-law Sandra Foster (left) and daughter Wendy Fryer, with fellow Waipawa Ladies Golf Club members at a celebration they held for her 100th birthday last Wednesday.