Katherine ‘Kay’ Lawler, 100, of Mexico smiles and listens as her sister, Sister Bernadette Gautreau, of Mexico speaks Thursday at Lawler’s birthday celebration. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times

MEXICO — Katherine ‘Kay’ Lawler celebrated her 100th birthday with family and friends at her home Thursday, reminiscing about waitressing at Grant’s Kennebago Camps where she fly-fished with anglers’ wives.

Lawler’s sister, Sister Bernadette Gautreau, hosted the party, which was attended by two of her four daughters.

Besides a cake with pink, purple and white flowers and cupcakes, Lawler received a silver cane from her sister.

Gautreau said Lawler mentioned more than three years ago that she “had to live to be a 100 because the town of Mexico gives everybody who turns 100 a gold cane.”

However, there’s only one cane and it goes to the oldest resident, who is 105. Gautreau said she did the next best thing: She presented her sister with a special silver cane.

Lawler told guests that some of her fondest memories are of her teen years at Grant’s Kennebago Camps in Rangeley where she waited tables for the fishing guides who stayed there. She also remembered wearing Levi jeans that came from her two older brothers. She wore them, she said, to paint a boat that camp management gave her to use during her stay.

Most women in those days didn’t wear jeans and sneakers, she said, so after the vacationing fishermen’s wives noticed what she was wearing, she took them shopping in Rumford to buy their own so they could be comfortable while learning to fly fish with her.

“It was a fun job,” Lawler said.

A colorful poster on display listed some of Lawler’s qualities: “inspiring, kind, faithful, truthful, insightful, honest and witty.”

Two of her daughters described her as an amazing mother who has a stubborn streak.

“She’s sharp, and I find she is amazing,” Kathy Tozier of Roxbury said. “She is a wonderful mom to our family and kids and grandchildren.”

Elaine Lawler of Andover said her mother has a stubborn streak. “She does it her way; but that’s OK, I mean look at the place, it’s gorgeous,” she said the gardens and flowers.

Party guests Connie Venskus and Debbie Laurinaitis, both of Rumford said their 100-year-old friend makes every gathering livelier and more entertaining because of her humorous comments and stories.

Daughter Leanne Lawler Don of Mexico was unable to attend the celebration, her sisters said.

Daughter Linda Doiron passed away in November 2009.

Kay Lawler’s husband, Lee, passed away in July 2011 at 92 years old.

Lawler received congratulatory letters from dignitaries, including U.S. Sens. Susan Collins and Angus King and U.S. Reps. Jared Golden and Chellie Pingree.

Members of the American Legion Auxiliary in Rumford wish Katherine ‘Kay’ Lawler of Mexico a happy 100th birthday Thursday at her home in Mexico. Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times


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