Margaret Parker celebrates 100th birthday

By Steve Smith - Staff Writer
Vernon - posted Thu., Apr. 11, 2013
Margaret Parker celebrates her 100th birthday at Welles Country Village on April 10. Photos by Steve Smith.
Margaret Parker celebrates her 100th birthday at Welles Country Village on April 10. Photos by Steve Smith.

Margaret Parker's high school yearbook photo caption describes her as “a quiet little lass that hails from Middlebury.” Parker graduated from Watertown High School in 1931, and her yearbook was on display at her 100th birthday party, on April 10, at Welles Country Village in Vernon.

About 70 people – most of them other residents of the facility – attended the birthday bash, including several square-dancers.

Parker said that leading up to her 100th birthday, she had heard a lot of people making a big deal of her milestone, and when asked what her secret was to living to such a long age, Parker said, “I don't know. I just kept on. I never thought, 30 years ago, about living to 100.”

Parker actually grew up in Shelburne, Vt., lived in Middlebury as a teen, and later spent most of her adult life in Hartford, where she also worked at Aetna Insurance.

Parker never married, which was by choice. Her niece, Sally Brown of West Hartford, said that later in life, Parker said she never regretted that choice.

Parker was close with her sister (Brown's mother) Jeannette Swanson, who lived in Rockville, and her husband Gustave. Parker was also a volunteer at the gift shop in Rockville General Hospital for more than 10 years, and was active in the Rockville Methodist Church. She also enjoyed knitting (which she still does) and was formerly a square-dancer with a club in Manchester. She also was part of a square-dance group that toured Japan.

The South Windsor Square Dance Club – some members of which danced with Parker in the former Manchester club – performed at the birthday party.

“She's always very active and liked being with people,” Brown said, “but she was always very independent.”

Brown and her family took Parker out for dinner the previous Sunday to celebrate. Parker also received a new high-definition TV as a birthday gift. Brown said the centenarian is still “very with it.”

“Just when you think she doesn't know what you're talking about, she does,” Brown said.

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