Centenarian credits cryptic crosswords

LAUREN HAYES
Last updated 05:00 30/12/2013
Kathleen Robinson
ROBYN EDIE/FAIRFAX NZ
BLESSING FROM ON HIGH: Kathleen Robinson shows off the papal blessing she received from Pope Francis during her 100th birthday celebrations on Saturday.

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Some people struggle with cryptic crosswords when they are in their prime, let alone at age 100.

Southland woman Kathleen Robinson is not one of them.

Mrs Robinson celebrated her 100th birthday at the Marist Rugby Club rooms on Saturday, surrounded by family and friends who came from as far away as Texas, England and Australia.

Despite her advancing years, the mother of eight remains switched on.

She never misses the birthdays of her 26 grandchildren and 31 great grandchildren and still enjoys sitting in the sun, completing cryptic crosswords.

Her eldest daughter, Deirdre Jolly, credited the crosswords, printed daily in The Southland Times, for keeping her mother's mind razor sharp as she approached her 100th year.

"People ask how our mother, at 100 years old, is still of remarkably sound mind. Well, we feel the answer is cryptic crosswords."

As for Mrs Robinson, she believed there was no secret to her long life, just "living one day a time, as it comes".

Born at Greenhills in 1913, Mrs Robinson lived through two world wars, and in between family and working as a housekeeper, a grocer and a seamstress, managed to fit in netball, indoor bowls and cards, as well as the daily crossword.

The weekend's milestone birthday was made extra special for Mrs Robinson when she received a papal blessing from Pope Francis.

Mrs Robinson was presented with a blessing certificate and a pendant during mass at St Patrick's Church on Saturday.

However, perhaps most poignantly, Saturday also marked 50 years since her husband, Les, was buried.

Mr Robinson died on Christmas Day in 1963 and was buried on his wife's 50th birthday, nine months after the pair's first grandchild was born, Mrs Robinson said.

Since then, the family, which now includes a great-great grandchild, has grown significantly and most members had gathered for the weekend celebrations.

Daughter Kathy Heissenbuttel, who Mrs Robinson lives with, said her mother had always been a helping hand for the family.

"She's always there. You can go to her for anything."

 

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- © Fairfax NZ News

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