At 100, Leila is still the life of the party

Kingsgrove legend: Lelia Pearson, is celebrating her 100th birthday today with family and friends including many nieces and nephews and her two sons, Bill and Garry, pictured. Picture: John Veage
Kingsgrove legend: Lelia Pearson, is celebrating her 100th birthday today with family and friends including many nieces and nephews and her two sons, Bill and Garry, pictured. Picture: John Veage

One of Kingsgrove’s original residents, Leila Pearson, turned 100 on Saturday.

Leila lived in Kingsgrove for 76 years until two years ago when she moved to the Huntingdon Gardens Aged Care at Bexley.

She is returned Kingsgrove on Saturaday celebrate her 100th birthday with family and friends at the Kingsgrove RSL where she has been a member for more than 60 years.

Leila is celebrating her birthday with family and friends including nieces and nephews from all over the state and even from the United States.

She was born Leila Francisco Stinson on on the second-last day of WWI, November 10, 1918 at Cobar, the second eldest of seven sisters.

Her father was Jack Stinson and her mother Ruby Francisco who was of Portuguese descent.

The family moved to Sydney in 1927.

Leila met and married Herbert Pearson when just 18 years of age. They moved into a new house at Hobbs Street, Kingsgrove in 1940 where she lived for 76 years until 2016 when she moved into Huntingdon Gardens Aged Care.

Leila and Herbert had two sons, Bill, now 81, and Gary, 77.

Herbert was the official photographer with the Government Printing Office.

“My father did all the photographs of the Sydney Harbour Bridge, from start to finish,” Bill said.

“You can see him in the famous photo of when they placed the final bolt in place to join the span of the bridge. The bolt was bigger than his head.

“When he retired, Dad was presented with an Imperial Services Medal by the Governor at Government House.”

Herbert passed away 20 years ago, aged 84.

Leila particularly wanted her 100th birthday party to be held at Kingsgrove RSL, the club which she and Herbert joined as members in the 1950s when it was situated and operated from an old Scouts hall on railway property on the north-eastern side of the station on Kingsgrove Avenue.

Bill said Kingsgrove was semi-rural when he grew up.

“There were only about 15 per cent of the houses that there are today,” he said.

“The electric train used to stop at Kingsgrove and a steam train took over from there to take people further down the line.”

Bill said his mother was active in the local view club.

“Up until four years ago she still drove and cooked herself three meals a day,” Bill said.

“Mum is very happy at Huntingdon Gardens, although she misses her old home.

“She is still very with it,” he said.

“She’s the life of the party.

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