South Perth centenarian reflects on 108 years well lived

South Perth centenarian reflects on 108 years well lived

SOUTH Perth’s Maria Fenner has enjoyed an active century, filled with the sweeter things in life.

She turned 108 last Thursday and her youngest of five children, Denise Clancy, said her mum had always a passion for ballroom dancing.

In fact, she danced three days a week until she was 100 years old.

“When she was 98 years old she was having heart trouble so she demanded they put in a pacemaker so she could keep dancing,” Mrs Clancy said.

Maria was born in Yarram, South Gippsland, Victoria and spent some time in Melbourne’s Flemington.

The family worked with horses, and her grandfather ran the Pony Express from Busselton to Augusta.

“She was told to look out her bedroom window when she was seven, and there was a pony out back,” Mrs Clancy said.

“She rode the pony for the four-mile trip to school each day, and went out with it each week to pick up groceries.”

Maria’s late husband Stan also enjoyed dancing, and in their younger days they travelled around Australia together in a camper van.

“They did five trips around Australia and travelled to Singapore and New Zealand,” Mrs Clancy said.

The couple had five children and spent some time in Sydney to run a delicatessen before returning to live in the Perth.

Mrs Clancy worked in accounts for a cigarette company, able to mentally add up long lines of numbers at speed.

“She’s never had a smoke or a drink in her life. She loves lemonade, calls it her ‘holy water’, and she always likes cups of tea,” Mrs Clancy said.

“She’d never been ill in her life and the first time she went to the doctor was when she needed the pacemaker. She was fit as a fiddle.”

Mrs Fenner has been a resident at Hall and Prior’s Concorde Aged Care Home in South Perth for the past eight years and staff hosted the celebration for her big day.