(CMR) Ms Ina Victoria Connor was given a note congratulating her for having reached 100 years old from His Excellency Governor Martyn Roper today.
The East End matriarch celebrated her centenary, last Friday (1st February), with cake, candles and cheer with family, friends and senior government officials at Sunrise Cottage residential home. Ms Ina was feted in style by the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) and senior politicians at facility in East End.
The event, arranged by the DCFS and her family, was conducted in the residential home and under cover outside, and began with live music from the East End Kitchen Band. More than 50 people attended to help Ms Ina usher in her milestone birthday, which formally opened with a prayer by Rev. Godfrey Meghoo.
Birthday greetings in the form of short speeches were given by her longtime acquaintances: the district’s MLA, Hon. Arden McLean and Speaker of the House, Hon. McKeeva Bush. Both said Ms Ina was a strong Christian lady with an unshakeable faith that had seen her through life’s trials and tribulations. They added that having reached the milestone was “the reward for a life well-lived.”
Variously described as God-fearing, a strict disciplinarian, a loving and supportive mother, sibling, grandmother, great grandmother, great great grandmother and community member, Ms Ina was congratulated by the Chief Officer for the Ministry of Community Affairs, Ms Teresa Echenique, who brought well-wishes from the Premier, Hon. Alden McLaughlin, Councillor Austin Harris and the entire Ministry.
“On behalf of my Ministry, I want to extend birthday wishes to Ms Ina on her 100th birthday. We have the highest respect for our elders and appreciate the foundation they have set for our country,”
said Ms Echenique. “We take the needs of our older persons both in the community and in our residential care settings very seriously and welcome this opportunity to celebrate this wonderful milestone.”
DCFS Director Paulinda Mendoza-Williams and Residential Care Supervisor Nurse Thelma Richards added their best wishes.
Cayman Islands Seafarers’ Association President, Mr. Denniston Tibbetts congratulated Ms Ina on behalf of members and advised that seaman Beltram Connor’s widow was “still on their books (as an ex-gratia payment recipient).”
Several Rankine family members, as well as her Ms Ina’s youngest son, Lowell, and granddaughter Vernice, spoke with gratitude and affection about Ms Ina’s “exceptional care and support.” Described as a thatch worker who had turned her hand to various jobs to support her relatives and someone who had been an active member of her district, well-wishers marveled that Ms Ina could still read her daily Bible lesson without glasses.
Described as a “Christian lady with a wicked sense of humour,” attendees were regaled with anecdotes. Ms Ina was also thanked for her commitment to East End and Gun Bay United Church by Pastor Alice Blaire.
Party-goers sang “Happy Birthday” and Ms Ina expressed her thanks before the food was blessed and the ceremonial cutting of her birthday cake.