NEW GLOUCESTER — Lillian Picard was recently awarded the Boston Post Cane Certificate as the oldest living citizen in town.

Born in 1919, Picard will be 97 in September.

The Boston Post Cane was distributed throughout Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Rhode Island in 1909 by the Boston Post newspaper, for selectmen in each municipality to give to the oldest living citizen.

While the original cane resides in a Town Hall display case for public viewing, a certificate is awarded to honor the recipient.

Picard and her four sisters were raised by their mother in Lewiston. She never knew her father, who died when she was young. When the girls turned 16, they went to work to help support the family.

“Eventually, I found my Romeo,” said Picard. After leaving home, she married Romeo Picard. The two were married for 53½ years until Romeo’s death.

Their son, Richard Benner, and wife Diane have two daughters. Picard also has four great-grandchildren and two great-great grandchildren, including a young man named Romeo.

Asked what she remembers about World War II, she said that she went to work in the Androscoggin Mill in Lewiston.

“My job was to inspect and trim fabric squares for making parachutes (for the troops),” she said. “I remember a big parade when the war ended.”

When asked about other memorable historical events, Picard said, “I shook hands with President John Fitzgerald Kennedy when he visited the Auburn airport. I was wearing white gloves. I said that I would never take off those gloves!”

Picard’s secret to longevity?

“I never had a drink, and I never smoked,” she said.

In her spare time, she enjoys playing cards and doing jigsaw puzzles.

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