On her 100th birthday, Gladys exudes verve, vitality in spirit

Yet another Mangalorean is all set to complete 99 years and step into her 100th year tomorrow. The years however, have not touched her spirit as she continues to be cheerful and independent. Gladys D’Souza holds on to her wheeled walker for support and is still able to move around the Senior Home which has become home for her in the past nine years.

Hailing from a prominent Konkani Catholic family in Mangaluru, Gladys D’Souza’s ascendants were well known ancient residents of  ‘Candle garden’ located between the present Jyothi Cinema and Woodlands Hotel at the foothill of the legendary St Aloysius College.

Born in Rangoon, Burma, on March 30, 1918, the eldest of five brothers (Archie, Oswald/Ozzie, Ralph, Basil, Darwin/Bannoo), her father Casmir Nicholas Currie (Correa), a Marine Engineer was married to Annie Alice nee Menezes.

Gladys too married Chief Marine Engineer Joachim Lawrence D’Souza (1905-54) on December 29, 1942. Gladys has fond memories of the love and respect showered upon her by her parents. After her husband’s death she and her children Gloria, Pam, Norma, Trevor and Christopher moved out of Burma to Calcutta in the mid-1950s. Though she tried to keep herself occupied by teaching at Don Bosco School, Park Circus, Calcutta, she decided that her priority was to look after her children at home. Trevor, the fourth of the five children, has taken after his father and is a successful Marine Engineer in Toronto, Canada.

Gladys has been living in Mangaluru since 2008 in a senior citizens home near Rosario Cathedral, Bolar as the severe cold conditions in Canada and US did not suit her. Her fun side surfaces when she is at her electronic keyboard as she regales audiences with old western songs.

Gladys is also a cancer survivor. She recounts that while leaving the hospital, doctors told her that she will live to see her 101st birthday but she frowned and said “no it will be 110”. Her undying spirit of enthusiasm and courage have indeed been her driving force.

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