Long-time Mattapoisett resident celebrates 100th birthday

By Tanner Harding | Oct 14, 2016
Photo by: Tanner Harding Ruth Sylvia enjoys the music at her 100th birthday party.

Marion — Ruth Sylvia came from good genes. Her mother lived to be 100, and on Thursday afternoon, Sylvia celebrated her own 100th birthday at Sippican Healthcare Center.

She was born in Fairhaven on Oct. 13, 1916 into a Portuguese family. In 1946, Sylvia married, and shortly after had two children, a son and a daughter. The family moved to Mattapoisett, where Sylvia lived until she was 92.

“She loved being a mother,” her son, David Sylvia, said. “She was a good Portuguese mother, a disciplinarian.”

Sylvia worked in the defense industry making gas masks during World War II, but her son mostly remembers his mother as being a homemaker so she could raise her children.

Her husband, who passed away at 98, was a fisherman and could be gone for up to10 days at a time.

“She had to do everything,” David said. "She really kept things on an even keel. She kept us in line.”

While David fought in the Vietnam War, Sylvia went back to work to keep herself distracted from the danger he was in.

“She worried a great deal,” he said. “She worked in the Center School cafeteria to keep her mind off of it.”

The party at Sippican Healthcare Center, where Sylvia has lived the past eight years, featured cake, ice cream and music.

“She's always liked music,” David said.

During her younger years, he also remembers her loving to garden.

But most of all, he says she is the foundation and matriarch of his family.

“I just think of her being a steady rock,” he said.

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