‘Hard work and lots of it’ the key
Hard work and lots of it is Berta Begley’s secret to longevity, says her eldest son Selwyn.
Mrs Begley, a Havelock North resident, celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday with a family dinner at the Hibernian Club.
It was a multi-generational affair, with everyone from younger brother Hec (98) to scores of great-grandchildren in attendance.
Mr Begley says his mother has always been “a very strong-minded sort of woman”.
“She used to shake her finger at us and repeat her old granny’s words, ‘If a job is worth doing, it’s worth doing well’.
“That was the code she lived by.”
Victoria Roberta McIntyre was born on May 24, 1900 (coincidentally Queen Victoria’s birthday).
Her father was the Waipawa baker before he went farming.
Berta’s first job was as a typist at Waipawa County Council and then at Napier’s Public Trust office.
She met the dashing young Dan Begley at the Manchester Unity Odd Fellows Lodge and they married in 1929.
The couple ran a dairy farm on the Heretaunga Plains.
Mr Begley was instrumental in setting up the farmers’ co-operative Farm Products Group.
He was killed in a car accident in 1960 while travelling to Wellington for the unveiling of his portrait by Peter McIntyre.
That portrait now hangs in his widow’s bedroom.
Mrs Begley led an independent life until breaking her hip in a fall six years ago.
Since then she has lived with her younger son, Doug, and his wife, Kathy.
“They’ve been absolutely wonderful,” Selwyn said.
LEFT: Havelock North resident Berta Begley celebrated her 100th birthday yesterday with family.
HB TODAY PICTURE: RICHARD ROBINSON