One hundred years ago today, Nelson resident Mary Murphy (nee Thompson) was born in Bowanville, Ontario. The centenarian is celebrating her 100th birthday this afternoon with family and many friends at her residence in Mountain Lake Seniors Community from 1 to 4 p.m.
By her own admission, she has had a very full life living in Nelson. Her son Dick Murphy wrote, “She lived in dynamic times with many other dynamic women of her era,” adding she has often said, ‘It was a great time to be alive in Nelson’.”
Mary and her husband Bill moved West looking for a small town on a lake in the mountains and they found Nelson. She soon became active in the community making many new friends. While her husband of 47 years pasted away five years ago, to this day, Mary is reminiscent about the great big parties she and Bill hosted at their Robertson Drive home where they lived for more than 45 years. She still has many good friends today.
“It was a wonderful neighbourhood,” said Mary. “We could get a party together right away.”
Mary would make 100 gallons of wine every year with different fruits. “You can make wine out of out of everything,” she said. To the question if she has a favourite, she said, “Wine’s wine.”
Sailing, knitting and bridge are a few of Mary’s past hobbies. With a cabin up Kootenay Lake she said they would spend nearly ever weekend on adventuring with their three children, Dick, Kathy and Bob, in tow. “But she always managed to catch mass at Camp Lourdes in Proctor, Riondel or Kaslo” said her eldest son Dick who lives in Nelson.
Their first boat was a canoe, then they up-sized to a small boat with a motor. Her husband Bill, one of the first chiropractors in town, was “dying to have a sail boat” said Mary. “He would watch them sail on the lake from our house. He said to me, ‘You know there is a toilet in that boat?’,” she laughed. “So we borrowed some money to purchased our first sail boat.”
They would eventually own four different boats. The Blue Falcon was a 56 footer and in spite of being her husband’s First Mate, she said she wasn’t that good at sailing. “I didn’t understand the winds enough,” she said.
A woman of many talents, Mary used to knit up a storm and she was good at it. “I would knit all of the kids socks,” she said, “and sweaters.” On road trips to Vancouver she would knit one sock on the way there and another on the way back.
She was also a founding member of the only bridge club in Nelson, still active after 57 years. Mary was an active member of the Silver King ski club cooking making many a pot luck dinner.
One of Mary’s many accomplishments includes becoming president of the Catholic Women’s league four times and she was president of the Catholic School board for many years when her children attend. She is also a founder of Co-workers of Mother Teresa, a society that met every month to undertake many charitable projects. She also helped out with her husband’s business washing the gowns and doing the books.
“I never felt busy,” she said. “I never gave advise, even my children, they’re adults. Nobody gave me any, they left us alone. Parents give so much advice, I don’t think the kids like it.”
When her husband retired, they travelled to 66 different countries. Her favourite place? “All of them,” she said.