AUGUSTA — At 100, Mary Burns still savors the good life, at least in the form of well-buttered lobster if she can get it.

For her birthday Feb. 6 she had cake and her favorite vanilla ice cream, sharing her celebration with about 75 other people, including children, grandchildren, great-grandchildren and great-great-grandchildren. On Wednesday, numerous bouquets of flowers still adorned all the first-floor rooms, and relatives and friends stopped in to read her cards and wish her well.

As to how it feels to reach the century mark, Burns thought a minute, then said, “I don’t know how it is because I haven’t been there long enough.”

Burns, who raised four sons in the family home at 21 Old Winthrop Road, now lives with son Gary and daughter-in-law Carolyn. Most of the time, Mary Burns rests in a bed on the main floor in a room where the sunshine can peek over her shoulder. Headphones and a battery-operated voice amplifier help her hear better.

A red, white and blue Red Sox quilt shouts out her loyalty to her favorite team, and Gary Burns is quick to tell visitors, “She’s been alive for six of their championships. She is a tremendous fan.”

Mary Burns’ bright eyes and curly white hair hint at her Irish origins. Her father, Francis J. Farrell, was from County Cork, and worked for his passage across the Atlantic by shoveling manure on a cattle carrier in about 1881, Gary Burns said. Her mother, Mary Houlihan Farrell, who lived to be 89, hailed from Ballyduff in County Kerry.


Mary Burns graduated from Cony High School in 1932 and married John G. Burns of Hallowell on June 16, 1934. John Burns spent nine years as a police officer in Augusta before becoming a salesman for Westinghouse, spending 32 years in that job before he died in 1976.

“I had a good husband, so I don’t have to complain,” Mary Burns said on Wednesday.

Her favorite times, she said, were “when I was home with my four boys.” And one of her favorite places is the family’s camp on Cobbossee Stream in West Gardiner.

The family home, owned by Burns since 1948 and moved from Western Avenue when Interstate 95 was constructed, was sold last September.

Betty Adams — 621-5631badams@centralmaine.comTwitter: @betadams

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