La Mesa resident celebrates 102 years of life

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A banner in front of La Mesa’s Reina’s Residential Care proclaimed, “Happy Birthday Margaret – 102” and H. Margaret Robinson did indeed have a birthday and birthday party with her son, John, granddaughter, Heather, fellow residents, and friends on the exact day she turned 102 on Oct. 4.

A banner in front of La Mesa’s Reina’s Residential Care proclaimed, “Happy Birthday Margaret – 102” and H. Margaret Robinson did indeed have a birthday and birthday party with her son, John, granddaughter, Heather, fellow residents, and friends on the exact day she turned 102 on Oct. 4.

Margaret, or Margret as her Swedish friend, Anne-Marie Gummesson-Kocherga, calls her, has been a resident at Reina’s for two years. Gummesson-Kocherga, a board member for the House of Sweden in Balboa Park, attributed Margaret’s longevity to the Swedish coffee, Gevalia, and said “Swedish coffee—the Swedes all drink coffee.” Previously Margaret was active in the House of Sweden as well as her granddaughter, Heather.

Margaret, herself, attributed her longevity to “Good food.” Heather’s go-to gifts for her includes the good food known as chocolate, adding “Ghirardelli chocolate, a card, and love.” 

Born in Des Moines, Iowa and one of three sisters, Margaret landed in San Diego where she worked, for years, as a cashier at San Diego City College. Margaret, a widow, was married to Royal Robinson.  Royal’s father, John Fenton Robinson’s contributions in the community were honored with a street, Robinson Avenue in Hillcrest, being named after him according to Heather. John is her only child.

Heather fondly remembered an anecdote that when students use to see Margaret in the community they said, “You took my money.” 

Margaret’s parents were born in Sweden, where she has also visited. Swedish meatballs and meringue cookies were a part of her heritage that showed up in her cooking.

Caregiver, Laura Fetla, said, “I call her my number one student.  She is always the first one to exercise,” and added “Two years ago we celebrated the 4th of July and she was the only one who remembered the national anthem.” 

With songs by Perry Como, Glenn Miller, and Andy Williams playing in the background the luncheon party attendees enjoyed pizza, salad, raspberry ice tea and a white with buttercream frosting birthday cake.  A second party was held in the evening for more family and friends.

Margaret has been able to make friends with other residents even at 102. One who even helps her cut her food if necessary. The residential care facility houses eight residents per Anthony Thompson, who runs the business along with wife, Cielo Reina Thompson.

“To stay well,” is Margaret’s top goals were for the upcoming year. 

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