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Imogene Steer is pain-free at 101

Senior raised 12 children, grandchildren under strict guidelines

BY RENAE DIXON Sunday Observer staff reporter dixonr@jamaicaobserver.com

Sunday, April 06, 2014    

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MONEAGUE, St Ann — After raising 12 children of her own, along with numerous grandchildren, caring for several community youth, and working tirelessly for years, Imogene Steer is pain-free at age 101.

Steer celebrated her birthday on Thursday, April 3 with her family at her Mount Waddy home in Friendship, Moneague, St Ann.

"I feel good, I feel blessed. I thank God I live this long. Many do not live to see half of my age," Steer told the Jamaica Observer during a visit to her home.

Steer's children believe that her long life and good health are a blessing from God.

"God bless her to live this long," stated Herma Steer, the centenarian's daughter.

"She no feel no pain at all," she continued, stressing that at her age, her mother was a healthy woman.

Imogene Steer was born on April 3, 1913 and is said to be the oldest resident in Mount Waddy.

Although Miss Imo or Mama Ty, as she is affectionately called, has lost her sight, the centenarian never ceases to amaze those who meet her. According to her children, there is never a dull moment around her as she always makes the best of every situation.

"There is not a sad moment with her," Inez Steer, another of her daughters, said.

The happy woman is always singing, her daughters who are her caregivers, pointed out.

"There is not a time you come in the house and she is not singing," Inez Steer added.

During an interview with the Sunday Observer last week, Steer hummed when she was not talking, a true reflection of her love for singing.

Not only does she remember the hymns that she sang during her younger years, but the centenarian also relies upon her memory for Bible verses.

As a Christian woman, Steer has shown what it means to "hide the word of God in her heart".

She is no longer able to read her Bible, due to the loss of her sight, but she spends most of her time repeating scripture verses from memory.

Looking back over the years, Imogene Steer's children described her as a great mother who taught them the art of raising their own children.

"She was a very good mother," Herma said of the strength of her mother in raising 12 children.

Although there was a full household, there was no time for indiscipline, as Steer reared her children under strict guidelines.

"We had to go to Sunday School and church," Herma said.

"You couldn't go any and everywhere," Inez chipped in.

Although she had 12 children, Steer believed in education and so all of her offspring were exposed to schooling.

The mother worked tirelessly along with her husband to provide for her children. Steer worked as a domestic helper, a vendor and as a farmer, her children said.

"She worked to make ends meet," Inez said.

Steer was described by her children as a hard-working, jovial and kind person.

Her kindness extended far beyond her 12 children.

"Although she raise 12 children of her own, children always want to follow her home and she always bring them," Inez said.

Having been raised and cared for by their mother, Herma and Inez enjoy the role that they play in looking after her now.

Based upon her strength, although she has to be led because of her loss of sight, her children believe that she will live to see many more years. Steer's mother died at 103 years old and her children think that she may be able to make that mark or even go further.

Steer, too, is looking forward to a longer life, and so when the Sunday Observer was leaving her home she happily stated, "Thank you for coming. You must come and look for me again."

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