Retired member of the Barbados Regiment and member of the Barbados Legion James Stuart celebrated his 100th birthday under the patronage of Governor General Dame Sandra Mason at his Haggatt Hall, St Michael residence today.
Stuart who is an active member of the Democratic Labour Party, a member of the Haggatt Hall Wesleyan Holiness Church, and a Justice of the Peace, enjoyed the celebrations with his family and friends who told Barbados TODAY he was not the only member of the family to reach the milestone. Their cousin, James Sisnett, who once held the title of the oldest living man in the Western Hemisphere, lived to the age of 113.
Stuart, born on February 16, 1918, lived in Ellerton, St George and was educated at St Luke’s Primary School. He later joined the Barbados Regiment and fought in World War II.
The centenarian was described by his daughter, Hazel Stuart-George as a man who lived a life of service for his country, family and friends.
“It is indeed a pleasure to gather to express our love and appreciation to one whose entire life you can truly say was one of service to family and friends; a man who joined the Barbados Regiment during World War II and was stationed in Trinidad. He stayed ready to defend his country and would sacrifice his life if it was necessary,” she said.
Stuart-George said her father was also a charmer and that charm was what led her mother to unite with him in marriage for 67 years. Together they had nine children, eight of whom are still living. Stuart has 27 grandchildren, 51 great-grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren.
The birthday boy tried to test his charm on Dame Sandra, telling her she was pretty and did not look a day over the age of ten.
“He has been wishing us all the best from the time we came in here. One thing I must thank him for is that he thinks that I am pretty. He also thinks that I am 10. I must say, you have very good eyesight because I am no more than 10 myself,” the Governor General said amidst chuckles.
Dame Sandra thanked God for Stuart’s longevity and presented him with a card from Queen Elizabeth II, a bottle of wine, as well as a fruit basket. She also thanked his caregiver – his daughter Christina Clarke – for the outstanding work she was doing in taking care of her father.
“God has gotten you this far and we all expect that he will continue to cover him and his wife as they continue his next set of years,” the Head of State said.
“I would certainly want to wish all of you the best as you continue, especially Miss Clarke as she continues to take good care of him. He could not have reached this milestone without the support of his wife and I would like to ask all of you to continue to love and support him for the very many years that God will continue to give him.”