Community & Business

6 September, 2022

Mary celebrates 100th birthday

A MAREEBA woman living in the United States has celebrated a major milestone recently, with be-loved seamstress Mary Ethel Wilson reaching her 100th birthday.

Mareeba woman living in the USA, Mary Ethel Wilson celebrated her 100th birthday recently
Mareeba woman living in the USA, Mary Ethel Wilson celebrated her 100th birthday recently

Born on 30 August 2022 to Mary Anna (nee Howe) and George Albert Wilson, she began her life in Innisfail with her parents and sister Phyllis.

She moved with her family to Mareeba around 1938 due to her father’s health issues but regardless of his condition, George bought a dairy business in Atherton and supplied milk to the local townspeople.

Mary used to assist her father on the delivery drives to Mareeba and soon enough was doing the route to Mareeba on her own.

Later in her life in Mareeba, she became a seamstress for her sister’s business and throughout World War II she would help her mother sew insignia patches for the American GIs in town.

A young Mary.
A young Mary.

One of the American GI’s who came in regularly caught her eye as he played the piano alongside her during his time off.

Curtis Hugg was from Iowa, USA and was the man Mary knew she wanted to spend the rest of her life with, so in October 1944 they married and in 1945 she followed him home to his family farm in Denison.

She and Curtis had three children – John, James and Mary – seven grandchildren and seven great grandchildren which they raised in the United States.

Mary has come home to Mareeba many times to see with her family, the Wilsons, Braes and Hasties, with her last travel home in 2011.

Now at 100 years old, Mary enjoys spending many hours of quilting, embroidering and other sewing interests at the Gracewell Nursing Facility, Iowa.

For her birthday this year, her niece Rena Braes put the word out to Facebook to send her hundreds of cards wishing her happy birthday, with many locals who knew Mary sending their best wishes over to the States.

When asked what her secret to a long and fulfill-ng life, she responded “eating much fruit, faith in God and a tremendous amount of good luck!”


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