Olive Jew, who turned 100 on February 3, owes her longevity to her upbeat, positive nature.
This is according to her daughter, Carol-Ann Hallam. Daughter Liz Wallis adds: “She is always positive and never complains – such a gift!”
Olive became a happy resident of Rand Aid’s Elphin Lodge Retirement Village outside of Johannesburg in 1997, where she remained until she moved into Ron Smith Care Centre, on the same grounds, four years ago.
“Mum – and the rest of us – are rather amazed by this incredible milestone. We are eternally grateful to have her in our lives,” says Liz.
Born in Johannesburg in 1924, Olive held several office jobs, the longest being at the Glynnwood Nursing Home, and was a committed fundraiser for St Dunstan’s College during her daughters’ primary school years.
She has a variety of interests, ranging from art to sewing, bridge, gardening, travelling and entertaining. Olive is a talented watercolourist and started the Art Club at Elphin Lodge 27 years ago.
Married to Harold, an engineer for 49 years, she spent most of her life in Johannesburg, Benoni and Edenvale.
“She is a constant loving presence and a tremendous mentor when it comes to ageing gracefully,” says Carol-Ann. “People are naturally drawn to my mum. She is always interested in their stories and makes people feel noticed and important,” adds Liz.
A birthday lunch for Olive and her family and friends was held at Liz’s home on Saturday, where she shared a lovely tribute to her mom.
“Your wisdom and unceasing patience have been a great inspiration to me in raising my children. Everything you have taught me over the years epitomises one simple thing – unconditional love.
“When I think back on my childhood, it was you who made fairies a very real deal and you who instilled a deep sense of faith and loyalty in me. I remember the thrill of sitting on your bed and watching you dress for a party; that familiar smell of Elizabeth Arden’s Blue Grass and Oil of Olay – I was sure you were a queen and you weren’t allowed to share this secret with us!
“Our excursions to John Orr’s were a special treat – the delight of seeing the glamorous mannequins modelling the season’s finest in the tearoom was breathtaking, and tongue on rye at Anstey’s Art Deco tearoom was an exotic treat. Thrupps in Eloff Street, where they lifted me to sit on the high counter, was also a very important stop-off for Segal sausages for Granddad, and then to Dicks to replenish Granny’s sweetie tin. I can remember just the two of us going to see My Fair Lady at His Majesty’s Theatre; you made me a new outfit and I had to learn all the words of the songs off by heart!
“My darling Mum, you have the wonderful ability to laugh easily, love unconditionally and live life for every moment.”
Apart from daughters Carol-Ann and Elizabeth, Olive has two sons-in-law, Clive Hallam and Ian Wallis, grandchildren Rory, Remy, Kellie, Olivia, St John and Kirstin, and great-grandchildren Lily-Rose, Felix and Oliver.
Ron Smith Care Centre resident Olive Jew, who always has a smile on her face, turned 100 on February 3.