100 Years Young

100 Years Young
Gai Gai Quarterman, Geary Irwin and Irwin’s great-grandson William Stewart with Art McClellan and Faith McClellan

Geary Irwin was born on Oct. 12, 1923, in San Francisco, where there is a street named after her great-grandfather John W. Geary, who was the first mayor of San Francisco, a governor of the Kansas Territory and the 16th governor of Pennsylvania. Irwin attended Berkeley where she met her soon-to-be husband, William. She took a train from San Francisco to St. Petersburg, Florida – where he was stationed – to get married right before he got shipped off to the Pacific with the Marines. With this amazing beginning, Irwin and her family lived in Memphis, Tennessee, until she made her way to Jacksonville in 2010.

Geary began her weeklong 100th-birthday celebration with a speech during church service of her love and appreciation for her fellow congregants before she was honored with a cake-and-punch reception in the courtyard of Ortega Church. The big day was highlighted with a family dinner at her daughter’s home and a bar-b-que at her granddaughter’s home the following day.

“It was a sweet, sweet time. It was really special to all be together – 19 people at every meal! And we had so much fun and laughed so hard!” said Irwin’s daughter, GaiGai Quarterman.

Quarterman described her mother as very practical and down to earth. In her long life, Irwin has been a preschool teacher, a juvenile probation officer and has cared for her disabled son. She is dedicated to her church, has been a faithful member of bible study and has always had a passion for books and reading.

“There seems no limit to the affirming adjectives one could use to describe how Geary continues to engage life as she celebrates her 100 years of life with her infectious smile, gracious words and enlivening spirit,” said Pastor Art McClellan.

By Peggy Harrell Jennings
Resident Community News

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