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Century for Val

Shepparton's Val Chenery celebrated her 100th birthday on November 23 and her family looked back on her life.

RIAHN SMITH December 2, 2012 4:22am

Val Chenery celebrates her 100th birthday with family members


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Val Chenery is described by her daughter Joy as a ‘‘super mum’’.

The Yea-born woman, who turned 100 last Friday, raised five children — Val Inglis, Joy McManus, Bob Chenery, Bev Davis and Ros Chenery — while while working to earn a living alongside her husband Stan.

Born Evelyn Valarie Hiort as one of four children, ‘‘Val’’ worked for the Yea Shire Secretary and Melbourne Central Telephone Exchange before marrying Stan Chenery and settling in Shepparton.

Mrs Chenery maintained her strict work ethic, running a family-owned furniture store in Mooroopna and later working in the manchester department at Fairleys, until she retired at the age of 62.

Her daughter Joy McManus recalls a life of happy memories as well as hardship for her mother, including the death of Stan in 1970 after decades of ill health caused by his service in New Guinea during World War II.

‘‘Mum had a tough life when her husband came home from the war,’’ Mrs McManus said.

‘‘(He wasn’t) the same man he was before he went away... so she had a tough, but always rewarding life bringing us up.’’

Mrs McManus said it was ‘‘a great effort’’ to reach the impressive milestone.

‘‘She’s always been a very healthy person, not that she’s conscious of it, but there was always good food on the table.

‘‘There were lots of family gatherings and many Christmases spent together.’’

‘‘And birthdays,’’ she said with a smile.

And there was another birthday celebration on Sunday when family from across the country, including 13 grandchildren and 17 great-grandchildren, descended on Shepparton to celebrate the centenarian’s special day.

Asked what had fuelled her mother’s long life, Mrs McManus put it down down to two simple concepts — faith and family.

‘‘She’s always been a very religious lady, very strong beliefs,’’ she said.

‘‘She was Salvation Army lady and did work for the Salvation Army in Shepparton and that was really her life.

‘‘And her family. (She) did a great job bringing up her five children and we’re all still around her.’’

This story first appeared in the November 29 edition of SN Weekly.

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