Ron Smith Care Centre’s Kitty celebrates 100 years

Lovely Kitty surrounded by some of her family, from left to right: daughter and son-in-law Carol and Paul Cunningham; and son and daughter-in-law Charles and Mitzi Venn from Brisbane, Australia.

Ron Smith Care Centre resident Kitty Venn turned 100 years old on April 5.

Some of the Rand Aid-run care centre staff and residents gathered to sing happy birthday and present her with a special card, flowers and birthday cake.

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The elegant Kitty Venn turns 100 years old.

Also present were her daughter and son in-law, Carol and Paul Cunningham, and her son and daughter-in-law, Charles and Mitzi Venn from Brisbane, Australia.

Kitty was born Doreen Ruby Mole in 1917 in Swakopmund, South West Africa.

She was the fourth child in a family of 12 children.

Three of her siblings are still alive.

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Her father, Alfred Mole, was a magistrate who moved his family to Hamilton Street, Pretoria, where Kitty grew up.

As there was a tennis court at their home, she was a good tennis player and only gave up playing tennis just before she turned 80.

After completing her schooling at Pretoria Girls High, Kitty worked for Barclays Bank as a secretary.

After the war she married Oliver Claude Venn, a quantity surveyor who was a pilot during the war, and they moved to Sandringham, which was a suburb developed for ex-servicemen.

She and Oliver had four children, 18 grandchildren and 27 great-grandchildren, most of whom gathered for a huge birthday celebration on April 8.

Family members flew in from KwaZulu-Natal and from around the world – from San Francisco, as well as Sydney, Melbourne and Townsville in Australia – to honour Kitty’s special milestone.

About 140 people attended the party, including some of Kitty’s friends from Elphin Lodge retirement village and the Ron Smith Care Centre.

Daughter Carol said, “Kitty has always been a very positive person; she never complains and thinks that everyone and everything at the care centre is just wonderful. Everyone loves my mother.”

“It is true that everyone loves Kitty. Since she moved into Elphin Lodge many years ago, we experienced her as a very positive person with a ready smile for everyone,” said Zabeth Zühlsdorff, Rand Aid’s GM: Services and Advance Division.

Kitty moved to Elphin Lodge in 2000 after her husband died. Her cottage was delightful and she had an amazing ‘spring garden’, including huge flowering azaleas.

She lived there until two years ago, when a fall and subsequent hip replacement necessitated her move to the care centre.

Charmaine Slater
Senior journalist (Edenvale)

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