A look at life, at age 100

Jaffrey: family celebrates milestone

A banner is spread across the wall in one of the rooms at Good Shepherd Nursing Home in Jaffrey. “Happy Birthday!” it proclaims in bright letters. And just above it, stapled cheekily to the center of the banner, is a piece of paper declaring the age of the honoree: 100.

Seated in her chair by the window, underneath her banner and surrounded by mylar balloons and bouquets of flowers from her children and grandchildren, is Eveline Vaillancourt, a Good Shepherd resident. A party hat is perched atop her white hair, above a face remarkably fresh and wrinkle-free, despite her milestone birthday. Visiting her the morning of her birthday were her son and daughter-in-law, Marcel and Cathy Vaillancourt of Greenville, who presented her with balloons and flowers, and her great-grandson Jaden, 5, of New Ipswich.

Eveline has been a lifelong nurturer, noted Marcel. Her mother passed away when she was 19 years old, and Eveline, the oldest of five children, picked up the reigns to finish raising her siblings.

“Ernest, he called me his mother,” mused Eveline, referring to her youngest sibling, who was only 5 when his mother passed and Eveline began to care for him.

Eventually, Eveline, who was and is still deeply religious, entered a convent to become a nun, but was only there for about a year before she became seriously ill and returned home to Greenville. So it was not until a little later in life that she married, to a longtime neighbor, Gaspard Vaillencourt of Greenville. Gaspard lived on Mill Street, where his sons still reside, and worked for the textile mill there. Following the death of his first wife, he and Eveline, who attended the same ministry, became close and eventually wed, producing two sons, Marcel and Henri Vaillancourt.

Eveline was a stay-at-home mother, said Marcel, and was very much a homebody, content to be a wife and mother, and work in her vegetable garden. She resided her whole life in Greenville until retiring to Good Shepherd.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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