Surprises are a little harder to come by when you’re 100 years old. But Geoff Noonan’s family managed to astonish their father on his milestone birthday – reuniting him with three nieces.
Geoffrey ‘John’ Noonan was born in Ballarat on February 7, 1916. His father Patrick worked for the Tramways in Ballarat and then the family later moved to Kew when his father took a new job at the Hawthorn Depot.
Sadly, when Geoff was just four years old, his father passed away. Then ten years later his younger sister, Kathleen, also passed, aged just 11. His mum, Eileen, remarried and Geoff later gained a half-brother, half-sister and step-sister.
Geoff (pictured with his six children) served in WWII in the 53rd anti-aircraft company based in Melbourne – but was lucky enough not to see any conflict. He met his beautiful wife Mary and settled in Broadmeadows, where they lived for 50 years, raising their six children.
Geoff worked at the University of Melbourne for 27 years in the mechanical engineering department until his retirement.
“Dad is very proud that since leaving school at age 14, he has never been unemployed,” said his son, Luke.
“Since our Mum passed in 1998, Dad has determinedly pushed on and all he has talked about for the last ten years is he wants his letter from the Queen.”
On February 7 Geoff received his wish at a special celebration at Villa Maria Catholic Homes aged care residence in Bundoora, where he has lived for three years.
Surrounded by his 17 grandchildren, nine great-grandchildren and around 40 other family members and friends, Luke said his Dad was “wrapt” to be reunited with three daughters of his half-sister.
“It took a while to track them down and they haven’t seen our family since about 1971. It’s actually a surprise for all my family,” Luke said.
Luke described his Dad as a “quiet and gentle person” who loved his family. Geoff described turning 100 as a “real achievement”, although his proudest lifetime achievement was marrying Mary.
And as for the ever important “tip” for making it to 100? Geoff’s answer is simple and practical: “don’t drink or smoke!”
Happy birthday Geoff!