Dartmouth resident celebrates 100 years

Feb 7, 2020

If Dartmouth resident Lillian Donaghy had a candle for every year she’s been alive, her birthday cake would have been a fire hazard.

Donaghy celebrated her 100th birthday on February 7 with cake plus four generations of family and friends at the Cottages at Dartmouth Village assisted living facility on Slocum Road.

Great-grandchildren Emma (6), Aidan (10), and Connor (13) Keaney came from Holden, MA for the occasion, along with Donaghy’s son Alan Gifford and granddaughter Kim Keaney. 

The guest of honor fondly remembered her years working for the City of New Bedford, first in the Parks and Recreation department and later setting up the Buttonwood Park Senior Center.

“The mayor came to me and said, ‘I want to transfer you up to Buttonwood Park,’” she recalled. “I said, ‘What’s up there?’ he says ‘Well, a whole pile of junk.’”

She cleared out the junk (mostly band instruments, she said) and bought all of the chairs, tables, and other furnishings and equipment to revitalize the space and ended up staying there for 50 years.

Donaghy moved to Dartmouth from the north end of New Bedford several years ago, and said that there are “a lot of nice people” at the residence.

“I’m very content here,” she said. “They have a lot of nice activities for you to participate in. That’s important.”

But her favorite, she said, is playing bingo. “And winning!” she added with a grin.

On Friday Donaghy walked in to the room to resounding applause. It was decorated with pink balloons, fresh flowers, and a pile of presents next to her birthday cake.

She was also dressed to the nines, with a floral corsage and a fresh haircut. 

“I just went over and had my hair done, and when I wanted to pay them...They wouldn’t take any money!” she said.

She smiled. “It’s nice to be a hundred.”