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Friends, family show their love on 103-year-old's birthday

By Fran Gonzalez | Apr 24, 2021
Photo by: Fran Gonzalez Margaret Cunningham is flanked by her great-granddaughters, Madyson, left ,and Macy.

Belfast — After turning 103 Wednesday, April 21, Margaret Cunningham said she was not sure what her secret to longevity is. If anything, she said, it would be to keep moving.

Friends, family and church members celebrated the centenarian at her home Thursday, singing "Happy Birthday" and "Let Me Call You Sweetheart" and sharing homemade cupcakes outside Cunningham's sunny, tidy front yard.

Gretchen Daly, a church friend, said she has known Cunningham since the '80s, when Daly's kids delivered her newspaper. "She is a very important part of our congregation and an inspiration to us all," she said. "It's just amazing to know someone who is 103."

Wanda Pinkham helps Cunningham around the house and takes her on excursions when her daughter Dottie is not around. "We go to Camden Deli to get her specialty coffee," she said, and if Pinkham stays away too long, the older woman will drive out to see her in Belmont.

"She has a lot of energy," she said. "More than a lot of young ones."

Cunningham said she still drives to Hannaford or downtown, but prefers early morning hours when traffic is not too busy. "I've never had an accident," she said.

The Republican Journal asked her if she was slowing down at all, to which she replied, "Well I don't know, am I supposed to?"

When asked if she still enjoys an afternoon cocktail, she said, "Of course I do," and added that her drink of choice is brandy and creme de menthe with no ice. "I told my son I might have two," she said, "and he said I might fall on my face."

Cunningham said besides her daughter Dottie, and a son who lives in Searsport, she has a daughter who lives in Washington and another son in Oregon.

After we spoke with her daughter Dottie Black Field, Cunningham could be heard saying from behind her, "Don't tell him any family secrets."

The Rev. Joel Krueger of The First Church in Belfast said, "We are so proud of her today and are delighted to be in her presence. She always has good words of wisdom to share. If we can all do as well as she has done, we all would be better off.

"She is a real blessing," Krueger said.

Margaret Cunningham, with her great-granddaughter Macy in the background, celebrates her 103rd birthday April 21 at her home in Belfast. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Margaret Cunningham shares a quiet moment with her great-granddaughter Madyson, April 21, at a birthday celebration at her home in Belfast. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Family and church friends gather around Margaret Cunningham, seated, at her birthday celebration April 21. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Gifts are presented to Margaret Cunningham April 21 for her 103rd birthday. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
Cupcakes are handed out at Margaret Cunningham's 103rd birthday celebration April 21. (Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
(Photo by: Fran Gonzalez)
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