The challenge has been issued and happily received for Jacobs Alexander Turner to become the country first male supercentenarian.
The Seatons resident celebrated his 104th birthday at home yesterday surrounded by his children and friends.
“I hope I will make history in Antigua,” Jacobs excitingly responded to the charge by Permanent Secretary Lora Piper, for him to become the first male to attain the age of 105.
Dada, as he is fondly called, is engaging and friendly and when this reporter sat down for a chit-chat with the centenarian not too long ago, his mental faculty was still very much intact and he spoke of his life, career and his upbringing.
Smartly dressed in a white three-piece suit and a broad smile, Jacobs chatted with a houseful of people who took the time out to celebrate with him on his special day.
“Life has been good; the Lord has been good to me. I won’t complain,” he said.
Turner is wont to take daily strolls to visit his sister but he stopped recently and is now staying close to home. He still maintains a close relationship with his sister.
The Seatons man is very independent and is still mobile. He sees and hears well. He is not afflicted by any disease neither is he on medication for any ailments. He doesn’t seem to be aging much and resembles photos taken of him in the 1980s.
In his youth, Turner was a farmer. He later became a fisherman after marrying his now deceased wife, Ellen.
Turner loves the sea and its bountiful harvest and only retired when he was 99. His boat is destroyed now, but, Turner knows the secret spots to get the best catches, based on the time of the year and the time of day.
The couple shared three children, two sons, and a daughter. His wife passed away 58 years ago, and Turner raised his children with the help of family.
Yesterday’s milestone was commemorated in the presence of Governor General Sir Rodney Williams. He was joined on Saturday by a representative from the Ministry of Social Transformation, as well as the Community Development Division, children from Beginners Academy Pre School and Day Care in Glansville, and the Seaglan Development Organisation.
The four-year-olds came bearing fruit and food baskets and sang “Jesus on the main line” and the birthday song. The Seaglan group and Sir Rodney also delivered fruit baskets and other gifts.
Eileen and George Turner, the centenarian’s children and Iola McMaster, granddaughter-in-law thanked those who continue to show their love for the centenarian – the oldest male of the island’s 21 living centenarians.