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Strong heart through hard times

Rasbert Turner, Star Writer



Rupert Bonner, centenarian of Cheesefield, St Catherine. - Ricardo Makyn

Rupert Bonner has lived a full life. Bonner became a part of an elite club when he celebrated his 100th birthday on October 20 with loved ones at home in Cheesefield district, St Catherine, in fine style.

The occasion saw community members braving the rain to shower the centenarian with praises for having achieved this milestone.

"Yes man, he is a good person and continues to be my father even though he is growing older," remarked stepson Rohan Dalhouse.

Simone Burke, daughter of Bonner's third wife Adassa, echoed similar sentiments.

"He is a good man and we love him, him kinda stubborn but other than that, him all right."

Strong

When all this was being said, Bonner kept looking into the distance smiling. His words were very strong when he spoke and his account gives great accuracy to the listener.

"Yuh ready to listen to me now," he asked. "I was born in Bryan district in Clarendon, but grew up in Lucky Valley, and I was a Baptist from a very young age, " he said.

The vivacious Bonner told THE STAR's Life and Times that his mother's name was Eleanor Bonner and his father's Thomas.

"My mother use to have her little field and that is where I got my practice, but I later decided to do more than farming and I left to live with mi auntie in Kingston."

After leaving the Lucky Valley Elementary School, he started to farm produce such as yam, cocoa and banana.

He said in early life he decided that he wanted to work and contribute positively to society and so he started to do tailoring which he continued for a number of years.

He added in between sipping from a glass that he worked in a drinks factory, where he packed and shipped goods. He added that he was laid off and did his own business for a time before meeting his first wife who took him to Barton's District in St Catherine.

"We started farming again but this time it was bigger and in addition to burning coal I also planted sugar cane, which use to be trucked to Lluidas Vale sugar factory."

A fulfilling life

He said he later travelled to Panama but returned home nine months later to start farming again. Bonner added that during this period his wife who had left for England died after falling ill.

Bonner said he later remarried and acquired land in Colbeck, St Catherine. However, tragedy would rob him of happiness again as his second wife also died. He continued farming for many years, until he decided to become a District Constable, which he did for a number of years.

"Him coulda run fast yu see. And him use to carry one big flash light, and him never kin teeth," recalled one woman who overhead the conversation.

Bonner said he later got married for a third time to his current wife Adassa. Adassa who listened to every minute of the interview praised her husband. " He is a very good man, hardworking and a great provider, and although him sickly now, him is still a good husband."

All through the praises, Bonner smiled brightly. In closing, Bonner said he was proud to be father to five stepchildren and five biological ones. He added that he was really proud to know that he has lived a fulfilling life, for all to see.

He told Life and Times that he lives by the motto, 'not to smoke', he explained, "it will pick your pocket, burn your toes and make a chimney with your nose."

Bonner said he has never ever smoked, which he thinks has added to his longevity.

 

December 8, 2008

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