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113-y-o Grandma Lillian still speaking of God's goodness

Published:Monday | April 18, 2011 | 12:00 AM
Supercentenarian Lillian Anderson shares a memory with The Gleaner, while her son, Raymond Anderson, looks on. Lillian, at 113 years old, became a supercentenarian when she turned 110. - Gladstone Taylor/Photographer

Anastasia Cunningham, Senior Gleaner Writer

Grandma Lillian Anderson is one of very few supercentenarians living in Jamaica.

Born February 28, 1898, in West Phalia, St Andrew, the 113-year-old, who qualified to be called a supercentenarian three years ago), sits quite content at home looking relatively healthy and strong for her age. Her memory comes and goes, but on her very lucid days, she will have a conversation with you for hours, speaking on her nearest and dearest topic: the goodness of God.

"I'm not doing so good these days, but I am thanking God for taking me through. God is good. Heed His word and never forget His goodness and what He has done for you. Trust Him always and may He continue to always bless and keep you in perfect peace," she shared, as The Gleaner sat to have a lovely chat with the pleasant 'young' lady.

Wheelchair mobile, she looked around and kept smiling as she patiently recalled, with the help of only child, Raymond Anderson, life growing up.

The second of eight children for Samuel and Evelina Campbell, she spoke of being a very obedient child, helping her mother to raise her siblings following the death of her father. Today, Lillian is the only one still alive.

She remembers her days as a dressmaker and shopkeeper, while being a true preacher's wife. She dutifully stood by the side of her evangelical husband, Robert, as he moved across Jamaica preaching the gospel, until his death in 1972.

love for humanitarian work

The very strong, determined, independent woman was known for her humanitarian work. She formed a prayer ministry and her deep burden for the needs of others always had her praying relentlessly until she got a breakthrough.

Raymond shared that his mother's Christian principles made her a very strict disciplinarian who had a no-nonsense attitude that kept him in line.

After Lillian lost her husband, she single-handedly operated their 14-acre farm until age 82 when she came to live with her son in St Andrew.

"At that age, she was still so strong. When she came here, she started cultivating a piece of land by the side of the house and grew several fruits and vegetables," said Raymond.

"She was always in good health, hardly ever needing to go to the doctor. In fact, she strongly believed in home-made remedies, boiling her herbs for any ailment," he added.

He also admired his mother's zeal for life, always quite sprucy and full of vigour. He laughed as he shared the unforgettable story of his mother at age 92 accepting the offer of marriage from an 85-year-old church brethren.

"She began exercising every day like any young girl, all set and ready to marry this gentleman caller," he smiled, adding that he had to intervene to prevent that union, which he felt was not a good idea.

She said Lillian was always giving mini sermons and testimonies about God's goodness and encouraged others to surrender their lives to God.

Nowadays, the 113-year-old speaks a lot about looking forward to going home to be with her heavenly Father. Until then, the sweet 'young' lady, who once loved singing solo in church, loves to listen to the melodious classical music of her grandson Robert, who is an opera singer in England.

anastasia.cunningham@gleanerjm.com