Artist Margaret Rivers still full of energy as she nears 100th birthday

Margaret Rivers, who will turn 100 next month, sits next to some of her many artistic creations. Photo by Adam Prudhomme.

Adam Prudhomme
Beaver Staff

Multi-talented artist Margaret Rivers bounds with more energy than a lot of people half her age-which is quite the feat as she’ll turn 100 next month.

The Napanee resident attributes her energy, and sharp mind, to one simple fact: she keeps busy with her wide range of hobbies. From quilting, weaving, painting, woodworking, sewing, beading, crafting and writing, there’s few, if any, artistic mediums she hasn’t conquered in her lifetime.

“I taught crafts every Saturday,” she recalled, harkening back to the days when the town of Napanee hired her to teach kids how to craft in the town hall. “Through the week I taught sewing there. That was a little income. Then different people would ask me to teach and I got a few dollars.”

During the Second World War she put her sewing skills to use for her country, joining the service as a taylorist for three years, finishing in 1945, just a few months before the Allies claimed victory.

Her various works line the walls of her downtown Napanee home, where she continues to create. Sometimes its a nick-nack meant to make someone smile, such as a collection of peanuts glued to a wooden board that reads ‘we are all nuts’, other times its more practical such as a quilt or a velcro bag that can be affixed to a wheelchair. Even as she approaches her centenarian birthday she continues to make items to donate to Lennox and Addington County General Hospital, Seniors Outreach Services and local churches.

“I don’t waste any time,” she says. “If God gives you a day, you should make good use of it.”

She encourages her fellow seniors to stay active as much as they can and to keep their minds sharp by keeping up with their hobbies.

“They should be writing letters and doing things for young people,” she said.

As for tips of her longevity, she offers simple advice.

“I’m not one for running to the doctor,” she said. “I try to eat right, wear decent shoes and I don’t party much.”

Her secret seems to be working, as she enjoys good health heading into her 100th birthday.

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