by Jane Adams

Helen Holmes says she never dreamed she’d live to be 100. But she did just that, celebrating her centennial birthday on July 8. Her family wanted to do something unique to mark the occasion, so they asked everyone to make a donation to WDMH in her honour.

And everyone did! Donations are still coming in, but the current tally is $3,000!

“I’m the luckiest woman in the world,” says Mrs. Holmes. “I didn’t really know what they were doing for my birthday, but I knew I didn’t need anything. I just need their love. And I know I’ve got that.”

Mrs. Holmes was raised near Maple Ridge. In 1940, she moved to just outside Winchester with her late husband Bob on what was known as Holmes Road. They had a Holstein farm and raised four children.

Her family has continued to grow with 9 grandchildren, 14 great-grandchildren, and 5 great-great-grandchildren. Mrs. Holmes now lives at Garden Villa in Chesterville.

Shortly after she moved to Winchester, the new Winchester District Memorial Hospital opened just down the road. Mrs. Holmes says she remembers it well. “Everyone was so anxious and thankful to have it. We did everything we could to help out in any way we could.”

Mrs. Holmes remembers washing and cleaning and preparing the rooms. She helped to make curtains and feather tick pillows, noting: “I made them outside, so I didn’t get feathers all over the house!” She recalls that farmers grew extra crops to provide everything from corn to cucumbers to preserves for the patients.

And, of course, we had to ask Mrs. Holmes for her secret to a long, healthy life. Her answer is simple: “I was never one to rest, except for reading or quilting,” she says. “In fact, I’ve already knit 30 pairs of mittens for the church for donating to those in need this coming winter. I feel better when I’m doing something, and it’s a good feeling to be useful.”

“We are so grateful to Mrs. Holmes and her family for these generous donations to celebrate a wonderful milestone. Congratulations to Mrs. Holmes!” says Cindy Peters, Manager of Direct Mail and Events. Happy Birthday Mrs. Holmes!


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