JEAN Sullivan celebrated a milestone birthday last week. The Manning resident, who credits clean living, good genes and staying active for her long life, turned 100 on April 7.
She shares the same birthday as jazz legend Billie Holiday, which may go some way to explaining her early career on the stage.
The music and dancing bug hit Jean at the age of 12, and it was something she continued with well into adulthood.
It was this love of performing which led Jean to meet her husband, who was the drummer for the Jack Pateman trio. The pair toured together in the 1930s, finally marrying in 1939.
When quizzed about her longevity, Jean is nonchalant.
�I don�t know how I have made it this far, I just do it I guess,� Jean Sullivan said.
Jean says she has never driven a car and prefers to walk everywhere and only eats fresh foods, no processed foods.
Jean�s children Ken and Barb were on hand to celebrate the milestone and said their mother never suffered a serious illness.
�I think it is part of her genetic makeup, her mother lived to well over 100,� Ken said.
�The only problem us kids had was that she named us Ken and Barbie and when the dolls came out in the late 1950s mum said �oh isn�t it nice they named dolls after my children.� �
�We have never recovered from that – so we�ve been known as Ken and Barbie all of our lives, thanks to mum,� Ken and Barb chuckled.
To add to the celebrations, Housing Minister Colin Holt visited Jean, who lives in government housing, to announce that she will live rent-free for the rest of her days.