Hard work and good living are the two main factors which Barbados’ latest centenarian Rupert Springer credits for his long life.
At 100 years old, the still active Cave Hill, St Lucy resident occasionally takes public transportation to go and cash his pension cheques, even though his family disapproves.
“We would rather him not go but he insists sometimes,” daughter Coleen Springer said.
“He always says he leaves home with two dollars and his ID card [and] whichever vehicle comes up first, he would take. I would usually take him though or someone would give him a ride,” she added.
Today, at his home, Springer was surrounded by family, friends and other loved ones who gathered to celebrate the special milestone with him.
He was especially excited to receive a visit from Governor General Sir Elliott Belgrave and engaged him in hearty conversation.
Sir Elliott was especially impressed by Springer’s ability to read two birthday cards which he received.
Springer has had a multi-faceted career, working for a limited time as a labourer on several plantations. He was also an independent quarry owner, supplying stone for many construction projects across the island.
He operated a village shop at one time and, also functioned as a freighter, rock blaster and well digger.
MP for St Lucy, Denis Kellman, said he knew Springer personally and was glad to be on hand to share in his special moment.
“Mr Springer understood the importance of owning land for his children. His hard work and dedication were always exemplary,” Kellman said.
Coreen Chandler, who spoke on behalf of all his nieces and nephews, praised her uncle for being the leading light in her life.
“I just want to thank him for loving me unconditionally. I’m not from Barbados so whenever we spoke, he taught me so much about the country. Whenever we speak, the conversations are so enriching and enlightening,” she said.
Springer, who became a Christian in the early 1970’s, remains a covenant member in good standing at the Mount Summit New Testament Church.
He has served as treasurer, Sunday School teacher and in many more offices within the church.
Springer was married for 60 years to his childhood sweetheart Miriam, who passed away in 2002. Their union produced eight children.
Apart from a hearing impairment, Springer is in good health and loves to make cou cou.