Newest centenarian dies, life celebrated

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The cake was baked and the venue prepared, but birthday girl, Mary Winspeare, was noticeably absent from her 100th birthday celebration when her guests showed up at Coco’s Rose Reception Hall in Urlings to join her.
Winspeare of Old Road, became the country’s newest centenarian yesterday, but unfortunately, she could not join her guests who journeyed from her homeland, Montserrat, and from all over the world because she died on the day of her birth at Bishop E. Knight Nursing Home.
“It is sad when people die, I express condolences to the family and pray that God will grant them the strength to withstand the loss of such an important family member; it is always sad when we lose a family member irrespective of the age,” Governor General, Sir Rodney Williams, said after the celebration.
The planned programme for the centenarian proceeded with the Deputy Chief Minister of Montserrat and the Permanent Secretary who spoke of Winspeare‘s life and legacy.
Born in Montserrat, Winspeare moved to Antigua and Barbuda following the volcanic eruption that began in June 1995 and forced many of the islanders to flee their homes in July of that same year.
A farmer by trade, the centenarian sold what she grew – peas, corn, potatoes, breadfruit, cassava, yam and bananas, just to name a few. While in Antigua she continued planting in a small garden at her granddaughter’s home and shared the produce with family and friends.
She made and sold cassava bread at Christmas. She also made the masquerade costumes at Christmas  for the dancers. 
The centenarian was married to labourer, Thomas Winspeare, at the Seventh Day Adventist Church that she attended. She had six children – James, Peter and Sarah Winspeare and Rose Frederick, Thomas (deceased) and Helen Fenton.
The matriarch was blessed with 17 grandchildren, 23 great-grandchildren and five great-great-grandchildren. 
In the official radio announcement of her birthday, the people of Montserrat were told that Winspeare was rich in love for her family, although many are thousands of miles away.
“Mrs. Winspeare is a quiet, retiring and dependable person, she would always share pear drop sweets with us,” the announcement said. 
“We thank God for Mary’s caregiver, Condasie Winspeare Brown, [her] grand-daughter.”

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