Christopher Heights’ resident celebrates her 100th birthday

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By Nance Ebert, Contributing Writer

Barbara McPhee Photos/Nance Ebert
Barbara McPhee Photos/Nance Ebert

Marlborough- Christopher Heights’ resident Barbara McPhee turned 100 years old Dec. 6, and cannot understand what all the fuss is about.

There was a private family party for 26 guests, which included her children, six grandchildren and 12 great grandchildren, held earlier this month. There was also a festive gathering on the main level at Christopher Heights Dec. 4 for her friends and staff members, as well as the city’s mayor, Arthur Vigeant.

“Barbara is a very sweet lady and we love having her here at Christopher Heights. We wish her a very happy birthday,” said Carissa Janeiro, activities director.

McPhee grew up in Acton and remained there until a few years ago when she relocated to Christopher Heights. She attended a two-year college in Boston and when her children were old enough for her to leave them, she worked part-time as a bookkeeper in Concord until the 1970s. She was also the valedictorian of her high school class.

She fondly recalled her passion for gardening and talked about the many projects that she had worked on using her cross-stitch skills.

“I used to love to raise vegetables in my garden like beans, peas, tomatoes, cucumbers and more. Other people were planting flowers but I was planting things that we could eat. I also used to make my own pickles and can them. Everyone really loved those,” McPhee recalled.

About a decade ago, she lost the sight in one of her eyes and her hands have become sore. While she is no longer able to do some of the things she once loved, she is still an avid reader.

“My favorite author is Debby Macomber. This time of year it’s also fun for me to read the Christmas stories, which are really fun,” said McPhee.

Her two remaining sons live in Massachusetts. One lives with his family in Franklin and the other resides in a nursing home in Wrentham. Her son, Dave, passed away a couple of years ago. Her daughter-in-law and three grandchildren live in Townsend. She said she is fortunate to have doting and loving family members that frequent her apartment.

She recalled her many travels with her husband while he was alive. They shared many adventures together.

“My husband was a member of the Shriner and Masons group. Through those groups, we traveled extensively. One of my favorite places that we visited was Israel. We went there together two times and each was quite magical,” said McPhee.

She was very active in the Congregational Church of Littleton. There, she made many connections and friendships that remain today. Her sister, Hazel, resides in Concord and they remain close. She enjoys when friends and family members come to visit.

“She’s done remarkably well. She remained very independent until her 90s when she was still traveling back and forth to her home on the west coast of Florida. She even made all of her flight and travel plans herself,” said her daughter-in-law, Ann McPhee.

At the party on Dec. 4, Mayor Vigeant presented McPhee with a Certificate of Recognition in honor of her 100th birthday, noting “I am happy to say that Barbara recently became a Patriots fan!”

Mayor Arthur Vigeant presents a certificate to Barbara McPhee. Photos/Nance Ebert
Mayor Arthur Vigeant presents a certificate to Barbara McPhee.
Photos/Nance Ebert