It was a quiet celebration today for the islands newest centenarian as a small group of friends, including Roman Catholic priest Father Clement Paul joined Marie Ann Walton at the St Patrick’s Roman Catholic Church in Jemmott’s Lane, St Michael for a service in observance of her 100th birthday.
Family friend Evelyn Greaves spoke in glowing terms of Walton, who was born in St Lucia, but moved to Barbados at the age of five. She currently resides in Bayland, St Michael.
Greaves’ relationship with the woman he affectionately refers to as Florence has its roots in another relationship, this one between Walton and Greaves’ mother-in-law, Alrika Hunte.
Like Walton, Hunte was born in St Lucia and they both attended the same school in Church Village.
“They became lifelong friends,” Greaves said.
“I’ve known Florence for many years, from the time I came into the Hunte family. She was always around. [A] really good woman,” he said.
He described the centenarian as, “an extremely kind and cheerful person” for whom the expression cleanliness is next to godliness had meaning.
“When you visit her home you cannot help but be impressed by the tidiness and the order in which she has her surroundings organized. Whenever we visit her she could always point to my wife to tell her where she could find various things.”
Walton, who is now visually impaired, was a former fashion designer, and Greaves said to this day she is still quite fashionable.
“She went off to London and from there she went to Manhattan [in New York] where she worked as a fashion designer. She came back to Barbados in the 70s when her mother took ill. She continued working in the garment factory in Grazettes. She’s a very stylish person and those of us who know her know how meticulous she is,” Greaves said.
He said though Walton is blind, her mind remainsl sharp.
“She is beginning to forget a little, but that’s expected at this age. We are all just very glad to celebrate this momentous occasion with her,” he added.
Walton’s husband died in 1949 and she never remarried. She had no children.
Father Paul said he was glad to be celebrating such an occasion with a devoted member of his congregation
“We are very happy to be associated with her and to have helped organize this function on her behalf,” he said.
Following the church service, there was a small function held for the birthday girl.