Note: This article ran in print in the June 19 Edition of Sippican Week. The original online version can be seen here.
Marion — If you ask Marion O’Connor what it takes to live to be 100, she might tell you that all you need is a positive attitude and a glass of Andre Cold Duck champagne every now and then.
Cheer and humor, hallmarks of O’Connor’s life, were evident during the course of her birthday celebration, as guests laughed and took photos with her on June 13.
“She’s always in a good mood,” said Patricia Normand, O’Connor’s daughter.
Born June 14, 1914 in Jamaica Plain, the 100-year old O’Connor celebrated her birthday at the Sippican Healthcare Center. She was surrounded by her children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren, friends, healthcare staff, and well-wishers.
Through her life, she was an avid tennis player (where her competitive side would come out) and loved taking long walks with her dogs. She worked for many years in the foreign currency department of a Boston bank.
She moved to Marion 11 years ago after her husband passed away. Here, she continues her long walks, searching for conch shells at the local beaches.
O’Connor’s devotion and love for her daughter, grandchildren and great grandchildren stood out the most, family said.
As the celebration continued, her family recalled stories that painted a picture of O’Connor as a playful, loving mother and grandmother, giving O’Connor herself a few laughs as well.
“When I was young, I remember her as my playmate,” Normand said in a speech at the party. “We would go to Boston to ride the Swan Boats, go to lunch, to Filene’s Basement, then to Bailey’s for a big hot fudge sundae.”
Her eldest grandson, Ron, remembered his grandmother’s generosity at Christmas.
“We’d open all our gifts on Christmas. Then my grandparents would come down from West Roxbury around 11 a.m. or 10 a.m. that morning. It was exciting because we knew more gifts were on the way!”
“You know how grandparents are,” said Elizabeth, the youngest granddaughter. “They love to spoil their grandkids.”
Even after 100 years of an active O’Connor isn’t slowing down. Healthcare center staff said she is very involved in the day-to-day activities.
“Even though Marion’s 100 years old she doesn’t just sit in her room all day,” said Activity Director Anne O’Connell-Bishop. “She gets dressed, cares about her appearance, and comes down to activities every day. She socializes with her peers and participates in all of the activities.”
Other than enjoying a glass of her favorite champagne and her upbeat nature, O’Connor’s secret to longevity may be her competitive nature.
“My mother is still so competitive,” Normand joked. “There’s another man here who’s 104 years old. She’ll live to 105 just to beat that!”