Feature

Late Centenarians Remembered With Love

Two Fijian women, who lived over 100 years and through two World Wars passed away peacefully at their homes. In Naloto Settlement in Seaqaqa, Vanua Levu, Luisa Mereani Silinabakola, considered
08 Apr 2020 14:36
Late Centenarians Remembered With Love
The late, Mary Seraphina Giblin (left photo) and the late Luisa Mereani Silinabakola both loved through World Wars I and II.

Two Fijian women, who lived over 100 years and through two World Wars passed away peacefully at their homes.

In Naloto Settlement in Seaqaqa, Vanua Levu, Luisa Mereani Silinabakola, considered the oldest registered voter in the 2018 General Election, was 107 years old.

In Lautoka, Mary Seraphina, known to many as the bingo queen, died just 14 days shy of her 103rd birthday.

Many family members unable to attend 107-year-old’s funeral

Family members of Ms Silinabakola were saddened that they could not take part in her funeral yesterday because of the current restrictions due to the COVID-19 crisis.

Mrs Silinabakola passed away at her home last Thursday at Naloto Settlement in Seaqaqa.

Many members of her family were grieving and saddened at the fact that some could not go to pay their last respects to her.

This was expressed by her niece, Sisilia Ema, 64, of Bulavou Settlement in Wailevu.

“We feel so sad as we cannot go and join the rest of the extended family to farewell the only aunt from my mother’s siblings,” Ms Ema said.

She said the family had arranged for less than 20 people to attend the funeral so not to violate the social gatherings restrictions currently in place.

“All the children and grandchildren are in Viti Levu, New Zealand and America. They are not able to make it to the funeral, but have sent their condolences.

“She was the oldest of eight children and we had just celebrated her birthday on the first of January earlier this year.

“However, once everything settles down and there is no movement restrictions, then all the family will hold a ‘kana’ in remembrance of our beloved Nau,” she said.

Lautoka ‘Bingo Queen’ cared for victims of domestic violence

Ms Giblin died 14 days before her 103rd birthday. She is being remembered for her love and care towards Lautoka women who were victims of domestic violence.

Her second youngest son, Carl Giblin who now resides in Melbourne, Australia, shared the memories about his mother and how her life impacted many women in the Lautoka area.

Ms Giblin, who was born in Navua in 1917, moved to Lautoka in 1939.

She was married to Frederick George Giblin, who died in 1992.

“She was a very kind-hearted person and she looked after her family through the bad times and especially through the 40s during the Second World War,” her son said.

“She struggled all her life bringing up her children, but she managed.

“Mum welcomed so many people who came to stay with us, even people facing domestic violence in Lautoka at that time. Some ladies worked together with mum and some didn’t even know her; she would pick them from the streets and open a room for them at home and look after them until everything settled down.

“She was a very strong Catholic and she lived and breathed the Catholic faith. My sister, Marlene became a nun, spent about 28 years in Mexico; now she is 68.”

He said, Ms Giblin would also be remembered as the ‘bingo queen’ in Lautoka.

“She could play bingo three of four times a day and she was known at the Our Lady of Perpetual Help parish hall as the bingo queen,” he added.

“She was very protective of us children and sometimes we took advantage of her with her kindness, but above all she was a very kind person.”

Ms Giblin’s son, along with his siblings and other family members, are yet to finalise the funeral arrangements as he was still in Australia, along with his older brother John.

Edited by Jonathan Bryce

Feature: nicolette.chambers@fijisun.com.fj

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