'Happy Birthday, Doris!'

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Doris Kierstead never had children of her own but she is a “second mother to many,” according to niece Laurie Bramer.


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That was evident Thursday as dozens of cars drove past Highway Pentecostal Church to celebrate her 100th birthday.

Doris sat on a comfortable chair in the sun outside of the church as family and friends made a circuit, waiting for the chance to shout “Happy Birthday!” to the centenarian and wish her many more.

Doris is in good health and she still lives on her own in a Stewart Street apartment. Her street is too busy with traffic for a birthday drive-by, so the tribute was moved to Highway Pentecostal, which she has attended faithfully for decades.

Doris Kierstead was a baby boomer from the First World War. She was born June 25, 1920, in Perth, New Brunswick as the oldest of five children. Her youngest sibling, Handy Nevers, 85, also lives in Brockville. She introduces Handy to people as “my baby brother.”

Her parents, Frank and Hazel Nevers, were married after Frank returned from the war.

She grew up in New Brunswick and later moved to the Toronto area where she worked at Provincial Paper in Georgetown.

After some years back in Perth, Doris moved to Brockville in 1996 to be with her aging parents who had moved here.

Her family describes her as being “very, very special to all of us.”

Also notable is Doris’s ability to make friends of all ages, her family says.

“She has a keen interest in others, a caring heart, and a gentle sense of humour. These all attract people to her. She is a special lady and has many close friends,” said Bramer.

The family says that Doris is quite a musician and impresses even accomplished players with her skill on the piano and organ. The modest Doris attributes her talent as “God-given.”

Even at 100 years, Doris loves to joke with visitors and to go out on outings.

“My hat is by the door!” she’ll tell visitors.

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