At 102, Lillian Pearson still has the keys to longevity: Keep a positive attitude, do not hate people and love the Lord.
Happy, contented and still vigorous, she celebrated her birthday with family and friends on Sept. 11.
Those who joined her in the celebration at her home in Spotts-Newlands recalled her influence on their lives.
Pastor Alson Ebanks said, “It was no ordinary event they were celebrating.” He said “Sister Lillian” was mentally alert, with no signs of degenerative diseases, able to converse, read, do her word puzzles and handle her own affairs.
In addition to sharing birthday cake and other refreshments, those gathered sang some hymns, which Ms. Pearson clearly enjoyed.
“This amazing lady has lived through many global, regional and local disasters, including two World Wars [and] the three most devastating hurricanes to hit the Cayman Islands – the tragic hurricane of 1932, Hurricane Ivan and Hurricane Paloma. Yet the hurricane that stands out most in her memory was one that she did not personally experience,” said Pastor Ebanks. “Rather, it was the storm that took the life of her husband and left her a young widow with six children and one on the way on Sept. 27, 1941. That hurricane did not hit Grand Cayman, but 22 men, including her husband and several close relatives, were lost when the schooner Majestic was torn from its moorings and destroyed off the coast of Nicaragua.”
At the gathering, Ms. Pearson made a point of reminding those present that it was only through the grace and help of God that she was able to raise her family and overcome a serious illness. She also expressed gratitude to the various people (all now deceased) who helped her “put food on the table” as she attempted to raise her children in those difficult years.
“Granny is still in high spirts. She looks really good for her age,” said granddaughter Deborah Gallego.
Longevity appears to run in Ms. Pearson’s family. “Aunt Julia Hydes, 106, from West Bay is her cousin,” Ms. Gallego said.
When Ms. Pearson turned 100, in an interview with the Cayman Compass her advice to others was: “If you want to live to be 100 … live for God, be truthful and live a good life.”
The best thing about life is having good friends, she added.
She said she thinks Cayman is the best place in the whole world and she would live nowhere else, adding that God blessed her with two marriages – one to Charles Woodley McField, who died at sea, and Alcot Pearson (died of natural causes), and seven children.
At an earlier time in her life, Ms. Pearson did not even think she would reach 60. She said she had plenty of problems and plenty of children to raise.
She grew up eating lots of mangoes, guavas and other local fruit. She said she does not like vegetables, but loves fruit and a pot of coconut stew for dinner with fish, breadkind and cornmeal dumplings. She is an excellent baker of heavy cakes, bread and light cakes, but does not fancy them for herself.
To make a living for herself and her children after her husband died at sea, Ms. Pearson washed clothes, cleaned floors, ran errands and did other odd jobs before heading back to school and then landing a well-paying job with British Fidelity.
Her parents were Dorothy Bush, born in West Bay, and Ernest Connor from Bodden Town district.