Milestone for the ‘boss’
By Nadia Surace
YOU could swear she is an eighty-something-year-old; she seems fitter than most.
She has reasonable hearing, she’s very competent and has an infectious giggle.
But today, Pearl Dempsey turns 100.
Her secret? Simple;- “hard work”.
The Harmony Village resident, grandmother of eight, great grandmother of 20 and great, great grandmother of two, had remained fully independent until the age of 96.
Now, she’s betting on another 20 years at the nursing home, “At least!”.
Pearl Quail grew-up with her nine siblings and parents, Leander and Mary, in Buchan after being born in Bairnsdale in 1911.
From a young age she developed a love of sport, “thanks to her competitive spirit,” says her daughter, Wendy, in particular for her beloved Geelong Cats.
This was to her late husband Bill’s discontent, himself a mightier Bombers supporter. Despite their differences the pair married in September 1934 after they met while working at Nowa Nowa Post Office.
Three children later, June, Ian and Wendy, Pearl and Bill eventually moved to Shepparton in 1953.
Proof of Pearl’s hard work upon moving here is even evident at the nursing home today. Pearl is still referred to as ‘Boss’ by other residents who worked under her during her 26-year career as a Shepparton Preserving Company floor manager. Sadly, during her years at the cannery, Bill passed away on the couple’s 44th wedding anniversary in 1978.
Finishing work years later, Pearl kept busy pursuing her favourite past-times, gardening and baking her famous “to-die-for” biscuits, sponges and ginger fluffs says Wendy.
Pearl will admit she also remembers her healthy lifestyle with “no smoke, no drink and meat and veg for dinner”, which has perhaps had something to do with her milestone achievement, other than all that hard work.
“I don’t know what I’ve learnt after all my years,” she said giggling.
But obviously it’s a lot. She knows how to have fun no matter how old you are and to love life and her family.
That’s been the best thing she says, seeing her family grow.