By Susan Olsen Orpilla, Contributing Writer
WESTBOROUGH – Over 100 family and friends, some from as far as California, gathered on Sept. 12 for Patricia “Bunny” Perron’s 100th birthday party.
The senior demographic continues to rise. However, the count of people 100 years old or older makes up less than 1% of the population, according to data from the U.S. Census Bureau. Due to the uncertainty of possible returning restrictions on public gatherings, this celebration was held before Perron officially joins the exclusive designation of centenarian on Nov. 18.
Bunny Perron grew up in town
Perron has called Westborough home her entire life. The youngest of eight children, Perron was born and raised on Otis Street and graduated from Westborough High School in 1939. She married a Westborough man, Fred Perron, and they raised their two daughters, Kathleen Sarnelli and Patricia Conroy, in Westborough.
Fred owned and operated a five-and-dime store called The Circle and passed away in 2002. Bunny now lives at The Willows at Westborough retirement community on Lyman Street.
Lifelong resident lived history in Westborough
Everyone knows Patricia as “Bunny,” though she does not recall how she received the nickname as a child.
Perron lived through The Great Depression, noting that living on a farm with ample food allowed her family to get by better than others. She lived through World War II, which delayed her wedding. Then, at 98-years-old, Perron survived COVID-19.
Some of her fondest memories are also what she attributes her longevity to — taking beautiful walks along with picking and eating blueberries. She enjoys her family and the simple life she’s lived as a homemaker also helping her husband in their store.
Perron was also a charter member of the Westborough Community Chorus.
Celebration gathers friends and family in town
Last month’s celebration was held at the home of Perron’s nephew Richard Smith and wife Kathleen Donley, next door to Uhlman’s Ice Cream, which Smith and Donley own.
“Everyone should have an aunt like Bunny,” remarked Donley.
“[Bunny] is so smart, has such a long memory, is always upbeat, and kind to everyone,” she continued.
There were lines of well-wishers, and guests had the opportunity to write down a special message or memory for Perron. Sparkly cupcakes were served along with Uhlman’s kettle corn and treats from the Uhlman’s Ice Cream Truck.
Maria Smith, wife of Perron’s godchild/nephew, Tom Smith, bestowed upon her a 100th birthday crown, a bouquet of flowers, and plaque from the Council on Aging. Luanne Crosby performed special music. Father Reverend Walter Riley of St. Luke the Evangelist Parish in Westborough stopped by to reminisce with Perron. Representation from Westborough’s Police Department, Fire Department, and Board of Selectman were also in attendance.