FARMINGTON – Jay officials presented Alice Angelo Cornelio with the Boston Post Cane on Feb. 18 in celebration of her 100th birthday, which happened on Feb. 21. Mrs. Cornelio was honored at St. Joseph’s Parish Hall.

Approximately 175 family members and friends shared in her special celebration, including her 10 living children. Ray Therrien, grandson and Master of Ceremonies, introduced his cousins, Lt. Col. Rick Cornelio and Lt. Col. John Cornelio, who presented Mrs. Cornelio with an acknowledgment of her 100th birthday from President George W. and Laura Bush.

Rep. Janet Mills presented a sentiment from the Legislature. Bill Harlow, Jay board of directors chairman, read the history of the Boston Post Cane and Rick Simoneau, board vice chairman, presented the cane to Mrs. Cornelio for being the oldest Jay resident.

The Rev. Roger Chabot of St. Joseph’s and St. Rose of Lima parishes, presented a blessing from Pope Benedict XVI and a letter from Bishop Richard Malone blessing her for her many accomplishments in her lifetime.

Andrea Tuttle Richards, great-granddaughter read a poem, “Earthbound Angel,” and a granddaughter, Alice Farmer, read a poem that she wrote, “Alice. Steve Cornelio.” Steve Cornelio, grandson, read a biography of her life, and memories were shared by family members. The Mt. Blue Voices, of whom great-grandson Ben Swain is a member, sang songs.

Cornelio was born in Portland, Feb. 21, 1906. The daughter of Antonio Angelo of Italy and Mary King Angelo of Quebec, Canada, she was abandoned by her mother at the age of 5.

She moved from one boarding home to another to earn her keep and attended schools in the Portland area, Portsmouth, N.H., and Cambridge, Mass. There she met Bernadino Cornelio of San Valentino, Italy, and they were married Aug. 27, 1919, at St. Rose of Lima Church in Chisholm.

Married for 68 years, they lived in Riley for 44 years before moving to Route 140 in Jay Village. They were parishioners of St. Mary’s Catholic Church in Riley until it closed on July 1, 1991.

Mrs. Cornelio is the mother of 11 children: five sons, Louis who is deceased, Peter, John and Thomas of Jay and James of Brunswick; and six daughters, Mary Belskis of Farmington, Millie Belskis of Rumford, Rose Labbe of Jay, Angie Lowe of Damariscotta, Louise (Dolly) Oakes of Wilton and Gloria Tardif of Jay. She has 48 grandchildren, 83 great-grandchildren, 45 great-great grandchildren and 20 step-grandchildren. There are nine deceased family grandchildren.

Cornelio cared for her family and father for 30 years. In the past 30 years, Cornelio learned how to crochet and made approximately 300 afghans and baby blankets for her family and friends. She also donated lap robes to nursing home residents and won first-place ribbons at the Farmington Fair for her work.

In the early 1980s, she overcame breast cancer. Her husband resided at Pomeroy Hill Nursing Home for five-and-a-half years until his death on Oct. 11, 1987, at the age of 93. She lived alone in her home for 13 more years until the age of 95.

Cornelio resides at Pinewood Terrace in Farmington. She is still in fairly good health and maintains a good appetite. She looks forward to seeing some of her family everyday and keeping up with family news.

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