Happiness leads to long life for 100-year-old

SIMPLE LIFE: Merle McCoist celebrated turning 100 with her daughters Margaret Leddington-Hill (left) and Dianne Reed.
SIMPLE LIFE: Merle McCoist celebrated turning 100 with her daughters Margaret Leddington-Hill (left) and Dianne Reed. Contributed

IF YOU want to reach 100 like Oakey's newest centenarian, Merle McCoist, all you need is love and contentment with "the simple life".

Mrs McCoist is a resident of Dr EAF McDonald Nursing Home and celebrated her 100th birthday with family, friends, fellow residents, staff and volunteers at a morning tea this week.

Telegrams from dignitaries including Queen Elizabeth II, the Governor General of Australia Peter Cosgrove and Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull were read aloud, followed by a touching and light-hearted poem written by one of Mrs McCoist's friends.

It was the second of three birthday celebrations for Mrs McCoist, including a big family get together and a smaller family lunch following the morning tea.

Mrs McCoist was born in 1917 in Esk and grew up in Oakey and Cooyar before moving to Goombungee when she married Rob Roy McCoist.

The couple lived in Maryborough during the Second World War, where Mr McCoist - a fitter and turner by trade - built ships.

After the war they lived in Cooyar and Blackbutt and raised four children Rob, Margaret, Jeanette and Dianne.

In their later years the couple relocated to Oakey, where Mr McCoist went into care at Dr EAF McDonald Nursing Home.

Mrs McCoist lived nearby with her daughter Margaret until six years ago, when she moved into Dr EAF McDonald Nursing Home.

The couple's impressive legacy includes three surviving children, 14 grandchildren, 34 great- grandchildren and 10 great-great-grandchildren, with another five great-great-grandchildren on the way.

Mrs McCoist said she was very happy to reach her 100th birthday and was pleasantly surprised by all the fuss.

"I've had a lovely day but it was much more than I expected," she said.

"I don't know if there is a secret to living to 100, all I can say is I've lived a good life but it has just been a simple life.

"I had a very happy married life and a very loving family, I've never been a drinker or smoker and I've always eaten good, healthy food.

"I enjoyed gardening, cooking, sewing, crosswords, reading and loved music, especially playing the piano.

"I was always acrobatic, flexible and agile and I can still touch my toes."

Dr EAF McDonald Nursing Home recreation officer Lynda White said Mrs McCoist was a very popular, well-loved resident who enjoyed lots of family visits, socialising with fellow residents, walking through the gardens and a weekly bingo game.

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