Centenarian birthday celebrated at Uniting Nunyara Peakhurst

A century celebrated: Jacemty (Jack) Stepiem, pictured with his wife Christine, turns 100. Picture: John Veage
A century celebrated: Jacemty (Jack) Stepiem, pictured with his wife Christine, turns 100. Picture: John Veage

A big birthday was the main attraction of the year at Uniting Nunyara Peakhurst this month, when a resident officially turned triple figures.

Jacemty (Jack) Stepiem marked his 100th birthday on August 9.

Jack was born a farm in 1919 in Poland. He spent most of his childhood there with his brothers.

He and his father and brothers were taken by the Nazis and sent to Auschwitz. Sadly, Jack's family died there but Jack survived using his wit and skills. He was taken to three different camps across two years during World War II.

He credits his survival to being a necessary labourer, using his carpentry skills and a friendship he developed with a German guard. That guard gave him an extra cube of sugar as a ration per day, and with his usual disciplined approach to life, Jack carefully portioned his bread so he had food each day.

After the war, Jack moved to Australia where he met his wife Christine. They have been together for 67 years, and Jack helped raise two step-daughters with her. They gave Jack and Christine four grand-children, who regularly visit Jack at Uniting Nunyara. They describe Jack as "incredibly dedicated to his garden", where he would weed it every morning. Christine is also a resident at the same home, and together they still enjoy tending to the garden.

Jack and Christine share a birthday chat. Picture: John Veage

Jack and Christine share a birthday chat. Picture: John Veage

Also celebrated recently at Uniting Nunyara, was Francis Green's 102nd birthday, on July 24.

She was born at the end of World War I in Sydney, and has seen the city evolve across the decades. When she was a young girl, Francis was a part of a dance troupe that performed in the opening ceremony of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. What she remembers most about the day was that a man on a horse 'illegally' opened the bridge by cutting the ceremonial ribbon. It was later revealed that the man belonged to a right-wing paramilitary group called 'The New Guard'. This group strongly opposed the policies of the NSW premier at the time, Jack Lang, and the illegal opening was a protest against him.

Francis married early in life and was extremely proud of her family. Her son took an interest in engineering and she was a loving housewife.

An Elvis impersonator delighted Francis at her 102nd birthday party, giving her the chance to relive some of the music she enjoyed during her youth.

Comments