Watling, Jean Mary

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                                                     JEAN MARY WATLING
                                                       102 years old
                                                      By Kara Stewart

All her life Jean Mary Watling, 102, of Black River has worked hard at everything she's done. She has raised a family of 12 children, eight of which are still living, and she also helped raise her children's children. But she helped raise her first family before her own children were a twinkle in her eye. "She quit school in either grade 7 or 8 to help raise her brothers and sisters," her daughter said. "She was the oldest of 13 children and she came home to help her parents raise them." Only one of Watling sisters is still alive.

Watling was raised on a farm and so were her children. "I can remember Mom bringing in and milking the cows and making her own butter. Everything in those days was made for us. She would take a torn dress, take it apart and fix it for one of the younger daughters." She said Watling did just as much around the farm as her husband, Alexander Hugh Watling. They married in 1914. He died in 1958 when Watling was only 64. After that Watling helped raise her grandchildren. It kept her busy, since there were 45 of them.

"Altogether she raised one family and helped raise two others," her daughter said. "She has worked very hard her whole life. She loves life and everything she did. She liked to plant gardens, and I can remember having hens and eggs. "I don't know where she got time to do everything she did. She made quilts and she knitted a lot. Watling stopped knitting any amount a few years ago. Her daughter said Watling would pick up her needles and yarn and knit a row, but would then put it down and move onto something else.

On Christmas Eve 1996, Watling celebrated her 102 birthday. Her daughter said her mother was in bed for most of the day, but she did get up to visit guests every once in a while.

Watling’s great-great-grandson (A.J.) celebrated his second birthday just weeks before on December 5. The family makes much of the 100 year difference between the two. "He's a very smart boy. When he sees pictures he knows who they are. He knows his great- grandfather and his mom."

Watling now resides in the Mount St. Joseph's Nursing Home in Miramichi East. "I went to see her a few days ago and I had to remind her of who I was," she said. Because of Watlings’ age, her mind has been fading along with her health. Her daughter said she prays everyday for Watling and for God to take care of her.

Watling has eight children still living. She has 45 grandchildren, 77 great-grandchildren and seven great-great-grandchildren

Source: Miramichi Leader – June 17, 1997

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