Family and friends as well as the Governor General Dame Sandra Mason showered Violet Gilkes with gifts and held a small luncheon in her honour as she celebrated her 100th birthday at Maynard’s House, St George this morning.
Gilkes who was born on August 14, 1918, in Bayfield St Philip worked as a domestic worker at Dacosta and Mussons Ltd. in her earlier days.
Her grandson Ronnie Roberts described Grans, as she is affectionately called, as someone who worked hard and gave to those who were in need.
“She [Violet] had one son, Glenfield Roberts, my dad, and he passed. She worked as a domestic worker back then. She worked very hard as her mother died at an early age, so she was sent to live with Jane Greaves. Obviously, through life and the struggles that she would have [faced], she made the best of those times. She was a giver all of her life. Interestingly enough, when she moved out in the later part of the 90s, I moved into the house and it was a remarkable experience. People who passed by [asked if I am] related to Miss Gilkes who used to live here. I say ‘yes’ [and] they say that this lady [provided] so much for them that they would not forget her,” he said, adding that so caring was his grandmother that she took mints to the Providence Methodist Church which she often attended.
“Anybody that coughed in that church, you can guarantee that mint will be passed until it gets to them. Some of us [grandkids] had to play our part, so we had a convenient cough [and] that [mint] would be passed along as well. That was a part of Grans, her love and giving throughout her life,” he recalled.
Roberts recalled that one of his fondest memories was spending time with his grandmother on summer vacations and marvelling at the tight regiment in which she did everything.
“Gran was very regimented when it came to time, so breakfast had to be a certain time, lunch and dinner [too]. She worked in order at all times. Everything had to be done within the time she allotted,” he said.
Ian Roberts, the oldest grandchild, said Grans now resides at St Judes Nursing Home in Holders Hill and that she has continued her loving and caring ways even at the home.
“She has some new friends in the home and interestingly [she] and another lady from St Philip are tag partners. So when I bring fruits she tells me to put two for her friend and some for her, and they will continue loving and caring. She still carries on that trademark of loving and caring,” he said.
According to both grandchildren, Grans is in good health with no ailments and she can still read. Violet had one child, 6 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren and 4 great-great-grandchildren. (LG)