Maher, Theresa

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                                        THERESA MAHER
                                      By Cathy Carnahan

Theresa Maher has some advice on how to live to a ripe old age. “Just live day after day, and have fun. That’s all,” she said in an interview. The philosophy worked for her. Maher turns 100 years old on Thursday.

Family and friends are holding a special open house for her in St. Michael’s Basilica basement from 1-4 p.m. A family mass is also tentatively set for noon. It seems fitting for her birthday to be on Remembrance Day, because Maher has accumulated a century of memories.

Born in Quarryville, the oldest of seven children, Theresa Holt married Noonan Maher when she was 16. They moved to Chatham a couple of years later and it has been her home ever since.

Noonan Maher died about 38 years ago.

The couple had four children. The family was raised at 27 Church St. across from the Miramichi Agricultural Exhibition Association’s main building.

The tall, frail, woman remembers boys training there during the war years. She also recalls the day her eldest son, Frank, marched down over the hill with the soldiers and headed off to fight for his country. Frank, now 80, and living in Nordin, is the same age as her youngest brother, Herbert Holt of Calgary, her only living sibling.

Theresa lives with her daughter and son-in-law. “They are wonders, the two of them,” said Maher shaking her head and smiling. She is obviously proud of them both and the care they give her.

And the love Maher has for her family is also reciprocated. Trudy has many special memories of her grandmother. “She is just like a second mom to us, really. She lived with us all the time we were growing up. She did a lot of sewing, and the skating costumes she made us were just beautiful,” she said. Maher laughed, nodded to her granddaughter and said, “I remember them all when they were growing up. They were my life.”

Theresa’s grandson’s wife says her life has been enriched listening to stories of the elderly woman. “Nan, tell where you used to skate,” she urged. Again, the old woman laughed. The twinkle in her eyes couldn’t conceal her excitement. “From here to Quarryville, that’s where we used to skate,” she said.

The Miramichi River was also a favourite skating spot in her childhood years. “In the winter, we skated on the river and coasted down the hills. And in the summer, we played ball with the boys,” Maher said.

Life on the family farm was never dull, she said. “Our horse was a pet, and one day our front door was open. He came in the front door and went out the back door. It was a good big horse, but he was a pet,” she added.

During the interview, Maher had a special visitor arrive – her five month old great-great-grandson, Justin Adair. Maher loves all her children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren, but little Justin Adair has a special spot in the old woman’s heart.

“You’ll have to write about my baby,” she said. “He’s the sweetest thing.” The baby smiled and laughed as she talked to him, and the rest of the world seemed forgotten.

“I had a real good life. I couldn’t as for better,” said Maher.

Source: Miramichi Leader – November 10, 1993

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                                       THERESA MAHER
                                   By Denise Berthelotte

CHATHAM – Theresa Maher has lived through two world wars and many smaller ones, now she thinks she see another one end. That’s the war between the towns of Newcastle and Chatham.

“They always fought a lot,” said Maher, 101, in an interview. Maher thinks once the two towns amalgamate, people on the two sides of the river may finally stop fighting. That’s the opinion of a woman with a century of experience, making her one of the oldest citizens of the new city of Miramichi, set to be born on Jan. 1. Maher lives at Mount St. Joseph’s Senior Citizens Home in Chatham.

She said she has seen many changes in her time. Maher remembers the first car, the first telephone, the first television, even the first sight of electricity. Maher was thankful to electricity for freeing her a task she did not like – washing oil lamps. “I remember I didn’t want to wash the lamps anymore.” Maher can’t remember her first phone call, but laughed when she said she vividly remembers listening in on other people’s phone calls.

She thinks people should be grateful for what they have and not concentrate so much on what they don’t have. In her younger days, people had to make do with what they had and that was final.

She said she didn’t spend much time thinking about things like the details of creating a new city. “I’m too old for that kind of stuff,” she said with a grin. “It’s going to be an awful mix-up.”

Maher’s granddaughter helped her grandmother understand the questions she was asked. Maher wears a hearing aid, but understands her granddaughter’s voice better because she is used to it.

She doesn’t understand what the big fuss is over services offered after amalgamation. “We didn’t have ploughing (of roads) when I was younger.” Maher remembers walking miles to get to school in weather so cold she had to set her lunch next to the wood stove to let it thaw.

With the help of her granddaughter, Maher recited a little saying she said she firmly believes in: Happiness is not having the best of everything, but making the best of everything you have. “Everyone should just try to get along,” she said.

Maher was born in Quarryville in 1893. She is the first born of the late Herbert andGlornha (Jardine) Holt, both of Quarryville. She and the youngest child, Laurie, are the only living members of the Holt family. Maher and her brother had six other brothers and sisters. Maher said a family of eight was normal then. “Who could keep eight kids now?”

Source: Miramichi Leader – December 27, 1994

This text is available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. For more information, select the following link:

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