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Wednesday, February 1, 2023
NOTL woman celebrates a century of life – and oh, what changes she’s seen
Joan Morgan celebrated her 100th birthday at the community centre among friends and family on Sunday. She says family (and good genes) is the recipe for a long life. Julia Sacco

When Joan Morgan was born the Twenties were roaring, passenger air flight was still 15 years away and eggs were 35 cents a dozen. 

On Sunday, family members and friends gathered at the Niagara-on-the-Lake Community Centre to celebrate her 100th birthday and a century of life well-lived. 

Morgan reminisced about how much has changed throughout her long life, the most notable being the everyday use of automobiles – everywhere.

“We only had horses and carts,” she said in an interview.

“I think it was close to when I was 10 years old that I first saw a bus.”

Morgan grew up in the small village of Port Clarence in England alongside her eight siblings.

She and her husband Frank had six children and later welcomed eight grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

After moving to Niagara-on-the-Lake about 30 years ago, Morgan made an effort to help out in the town. Before the NOTL hospital closed, she was a volunteer there for over 14 years.

“You’ve got to join in. Volunteering is the best way to keep yourself going,” she said.

Morgan still lives alone and proudly completes daily activities, both independently and with the help of a great support system, including caregiver Catherina Brown who visits each Tuesday.

And the secret to a long life? She cites her family and friends, among other things.

“Surround yourself with people who help you. If I hadn’t had them, I don’t know what I would do.”

“You also have to have good genes to start with. My mother died when she was 92,” Morgan said. 

Morgan’s daughter Cecilia, a professor at the University of Toronto, insists her mother’s active and determined nature has played a role in her longevity.

Until the pandemic hit, she would swim at the Prince of Wales three times a week and she biked around town well into her early nineties, Cecilia said. 

Morgan remains active in her own right to this day and notes she baked five fruit cakes from scratch for the holidays this year.

She also keeps up on the news every morning and is an avid reader of newspapers, including The Lake Report.

She emphasized that through it all, she’s had a fulfilling first century.

“I’ve had a very happy life.”

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