Region says its farewells to two of our century-makers

21:45, Jun 24 2014
Eric Major
Eric Major

Taranaki has lost two of its centenarians in two days.

Eric Major died at New Plymouth's Molly Ryan Retirement Village in New Plymouth on June 18 while Mary (Myra) Roots died at Hawera Hospital on June 20.

Both were 100 years old.

In May when Mr Major's 100th birthday was celebrated by family and friends he admitted he was feeling "sort of worn out". He told the Daily News hard work on his dairy farm was the secret of his longevity.

Myra Roots' funeral was yesterday and attended by about 100 people, South Taranaki Grey Power president Alison Howie said.

Howie said Mrs Roots was trained as an opera singer by Dame Sister Mary Leo, who also trained Dames Malvina Major and Kiri Te Kanawa.


Mrs Roots played the organ a lot and sang, and was one of the best teachers of cake decoration in Hawera, Howie said.

"She loved to travel and was quite sprightly, she had quite an interesting life," Howie said.

Mrs Roots was born in Dannevirke and moved to Hawera as a young bride.

Molly Ryan's administrator Jenny Ewans said with Mr Major's passing, there were now five centenarians at the rest home.

The oldest, at 104 years old, is Lola de la Haye.

She described their 100-year-olds as "amazing people".

"There must be something in the water."

The group includes Hugh O'Connor, who turned 100 in April, Phyllis Grey, 102, Grace Gray, 100, and Evelyn Dryden, 101.

"The rest are doing so well. Evelyn could pretty much run the place," she said.

Taranaki Daily News