A photo of Winifred Jefferies celebrating one of her many birthdays at Dougherty Villa
A photo of Winifred Jefferies celebrating one of her many birthdays at Dougherty Villa

VALE: Clarence Valley's oldest resident passes away aged 108

JUST weeks after celebrating her 108th birthday, Winifred Jefferies, the oldest person in the Clarence Valley has passed away at her home at Dougherty Villa on Friday following a short illness.

Ms Jefferies, known as "Win", or "Ma", was born at Southgate in 1912, and has three children, eight grandchildren, 16 great-grandchildren and six great-great grandchildren.

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Born in the same year the Titanic went down, she has lived through two World Wars, travelled across the river by punt before the old bridge was built in 1932, and was married for 67 years.

Winifred Jefferies, spends a quiet moment with a piece of cake as she prepares to celebrate her 107th birthday.
Winifred Jefferies, spends a quiet moment with a piece of cake as she prepares to celebrate her 107th birthday.

Her loss is being felt by family and friends across the Clarence Valley, many commenting on her ageless charm, wit, and impeccable presentation each day.

"Win was a big part of the fabric of the place," Clarence Village CEO Duncan McKimm said. "She was so active and sharp right up to her passing.

"Everyone's doing it a bit tough up there, but I think they drew a fair bit of comfort that she had a great life, and her life will be well celebrated."

Mr McKimm said that for many long-serving staff she seemed like one of those people they thought would never leave.

"Part of the furniture doesn't even quite get near it," he said.

"With this year's pandemic, Win told everyone that she lived through the Spanish flu, and we'd be able to get through.

"Even though she was 108, everyone drew a lot of strength from her."

Glenda Rogan, grandaughter of Winifred Jefferies (oldest female student) and daughter Bev Morgans were at the Grafton High School's 100 years school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner
Glenda Rogan, grandaughter of Winifred Jefferies (oldest female student) and daughter Bev Morgans were at the Grafton High School's 100 years school assembly on Saturday morning. Photo Debrah Novak / The Daily Examiner

Speaking to The Daily Examiner in previous years, Ms Jefferies was quick to answer the oft-asked question of the secret to long life.

"I guess you've just got to live clean and keep going," she said.

Ms Jefferies was an active participant in all of the activities, and was captured at her effervescent best sneaking of a lick of the official cake-cutting knife when she helped open the recent extensions of the home.

Win Jefferies tries to sneak a taste of the celebration cake at Dougherty Villa's new extension opening.
Win Jefferies tries to sneak a taste of the celebration cake at Dougherty Villa's new extension opening.

A service by invitation only will be held to honour her life later this week.

"An amazing woman who will be forever in our heart and minds," reads the simple yet poignant tribute in her death notice.

Vale Winifred Matilda Jefferies.

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