California resident celebrates turning 100

A Falkirk district woman who has turned 100 puts her long life down to a regular “wee talk” with God and daily cups of hot water.

By Jonathon Reilly
Monday, 20th July 2020, 4:45 pm
Updated Tuesday, 21st July 2020, 11:50 am

Marion Lowrie – also known as Minnie – celebrated her new three-figure age last Friday at home in Merville Crescent, California along with family, friends and fellow villagers, as well as a guest piper.

The milestone moment is one that will stay with Marion, who said: “I had lots of people here.

“They were very good and very kind. I had a grand day.”

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California resident Marion Lowrie celebrated her 100th with family, friends and piper Gordon McMurtrie. Picture: Michael Gillen.

Born and raised in Blackbraes Square, Blackbraes, Marion was one of eight children brought up by parents Margaret and James White.

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She attended Blackbraes School and thoroughly enjoyed both growing up in the village and the time she spent in the classroom.

The birthday girl recalled: “It really was a great village and we had a very good school and were very well educated.

Marion Lowrie with daughter Vanetta at her home in California. Picture: Michael Gillen.

“I can remember it well. I remember my first day at the school and before that. The only thing that’s left is the headmaster’s house and there’s a house where the school was.”

When her school days came to an end, Marion began working at the mill in Kerse Lane, Falkirk where her first wage equated to £30 in modern-day money.

She then moved to the Paton and Baldwin’s thread and cotton factory in Bo’ness before quitting to help look after her mother.

A year prior to the outbreak of the Second World War, a then 18-year-old Marion gained employment at Woolworths.

Wartime posts at the ICI in Grangemouth and the Chemical Industries Association followed, where Marion was responsible for waste inspection.

She went on to take a job operating machines with British Aluminium and although the role proved challenging, Marion admitted she learned to like it.

While still a British Aluminium employee, Marion married husband William at the age of 28 in Reddingmuirhead.

The couple had one child together, daughter Vanetta, and became grandparents to Vanetta’s son, Matthew.

Marion, whose husband died 16 years ago, is also a great-grandmother to Islay who turns one today.

Caring for others has always been important to the California resident.

At the age of 57, she began working as a home helper – a job Marion held for eight years – and also looked after her own mother until she was 92.

The creation of a community centre in California also presented her with a chance to take care of its hall and get to know those who lived in the village, all of whom “were very nice to me”.

Away from work, Marion loved to read and go to country and western-themed events with her husband.

The centenarian offered a few wise words to younger generations as she said: “Just carry on day after day.

“I believe if you are really worried and don’t know where to turn, a wee talk to God helps.

“When you come to 100, you’ve had your worries and you come through them. Just deal with them as soon as you can and do the best you can. Don’t let them fester inside.”

Although she’s not quite as certain on the secret to her reaching 100, Marion chuckled and replied: “I have a drink of hot water every morning.

“Whether it’s helped or not, I don’t know. It’s just a routine.”

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