Wareham woman celebrates 107th year surrounded by family

Feb 10, 2018

Mary Mendes celebrated her 107th birthday surrounded by family, including great-great-grandchildren, flowers and a few gifts.

Mendes, who was born on Feb. 7, 1911, has seen a decline in health over the last year, but is still happy to be living at home with her dog and her family. Up until last year, she was active and loved working in the garden, said her granddaughter Saundra Mendes-Silvia.

Five generations of the Mendes family were together on Saturday at the birthday party, singing to Mendes and watching her unwrap her birthday presents, which included an apron ("I don't even remember how to cook," Mendes admitted) and jewelry.

Since she didn't own a car, Mendes walked everywhere her whole life. She also never smoked or drank alcohol, which helped her stay in good health for many years. She attributes her longevity to staying active and her faith in God.

"God's got you here for a reason," Mendes-Silvia told her.

Mendes has spent 90 years in Wareham, as she lived on Cape Verde from age 5 to 17. She returned to Wareham in 1928 and worked for the A.D. Makepeace Co. picking cranberries. There she met her husband, Alfred Mendes. She married at age 22, and the couple had three children: Fred Mendes, Jr., Mary Mendes and Joseph Mendes. Joseph Amado also became part of the family after he came home with Fred one day.

She retired at 80 from her last employer, the Roland Thatcher Nursing Home, after spending 30 years working there.