100 not out - St Elizabeth centenarian celebrates in style
The conference hall at Junction Guest House in St Elizabeth, took on a decidedly festive air recently, when over 175 family and friends gathered to celebrate centenarian Myrtle May Thompson. She is 100 ... and counting.
The elegant and poised powder blue clad senior, sat at the head table with her caretaker by her side, basking in the attention showered on her. She had a cheery word and a warm smile for everyone who went to hug, kiss and greet her.
Glowing tributes were lavished on Thompson, who was described as the family matriarch by everyone including a tribute from Prime Minister Andrew Holness, read by Member of Parliament for South West St Elizabeth, Hon. Floyd Green.
"Today you celebrate a milestone of five score, and this is a testimony to your great strength as well as God's favour upon you. You are an extraordinary woman who has touched the lives of many, and I personally wish you a very happy birthday," the Prime Minister's message said.
Thompson's sister, Dr Pearl Dunkley, chronicled the history of the family's longevity, while lauding her sister's "independence, assertiveness and ambition", combined with genes and nutrition, which accounted for 100 years on earth.
The family is indeed blessed with longevity, as Thompson has four living siblings who are more than 90 years old.
Representing the Catholic Church, Archbishop Charles DuFour described Thompson as being, "young in spirit" and her caregiver Marcia Elliott as a, "wonderful woman."
Jamaica's Ambassador to the United States, Audrey Marks who journeyed home for the event, said she came to know this amazing mother through her children who live in Washington, DC
"It is a joy to see children so in love with their parents in this case a phenomenal mother, so much so that they are even more excited about her 100th birthday than she is. Thompson's life through her children and grandchildren, demonstrates an entire life dedicated to proper values and ethics," Ambassador Marks said.
She describes the beautiful birthday girl as a cherished role model in her dedication to overcome hardships, seize opportunities and strive for excellence.
"Mrs Thompson has done her part in the building of modern Jamaica, and is now a national treasure," Ambassador Marks added.
In his tribute on behalf of the children and Thompson family, son Geoffrey Thompson saluted his mother for her hard work in raising them to be stewards of her legacy of 'courage' and 'kindness'.
His acrostic tribute featuring the letters of the word 'MOTHER'.
"Rare and resilient as the desert flower, myrtle, she is the household manager of 13 children, 36 grandchildren, 37 great grandchildren and 20 great, great grandchildren.
"She always displayed strong organisational skills and is a trailblazer, transformer and healer who demonstrated honour and humility. She is eagle-eyed and empowers her children with education and entrepreneurial skills. Our mother is responsible, respectful, she taught us the value of relationships and revenues while being resilient and righteous," Geoffrey said.
There were also tributes from Bertram Lewis, children Barry and Lorenzo Thompson, Karen Thompson on behalf of the grandchildren and Dr Doreen Millard on behalf of the nieces and nephews.