homepage logo

Cape resident celebrates 100th birthday

By MEGHAN BRADBURY - | Dec 3, 2020

One Cape Coral woman celebrated her 100th birthday last month doing a few of her favorite things — going out to lunch, reading and receiving flowers and cards from family and friends.

“I went out to lunch,” Mary (Bommarito) Begbie said of her birthday celebration at Merrick Seafood where she enjoyed fish and chips. “My son takes very good care of me.”

When asked what her secret was to reaching the milestone of 100 years old, she said “my son lives with me. That is my secret.”

Mary was born on Nov. 19, 1920, at Harper Hospital in Detroit, Michigan. Her parents, who came from Sicily, Italy, had five children. Mary said one of her younger sisters, now 95 years old, lives in Michigan.

She met her husband Robert G. Begbie Sr., who she was married to for 66 years, in Ontario, Canada. They got married in December 1948 and had two children.

The couple moved to Cape Coral in 1983 after Mary’s older brother retired and moved to Fort Myers Beach.

“My dad and mom retired in 1983. They came down to visit him and he showed them property in Cape Coral. They came here in the fall of 1983, down by the Yacht Club,” her son, Bob Begbie, said. “They live across the canal from where the house was and have been in this house since 1989.”

Robert Sr. worked at General Motors in Michigan and Mary was a secretary for the Children’s Hospital for 42 years.

“They were awfully nice people,” Mary said of the hospital staff. “I enjoyed working for them because they were nice to me and everyone else.”

Bob said her mom worked for the chief of pediatrics and before retiring was the executive secretary.

“They threw a really nice retirement party for her,” he said.

Before becoming full-time residents, the couple split their time between Cape Coral and Lake Michigan for 15 years.

“We loved it there,” Mary said of their summer home. “They had a cherry festival every summer.”

Now Mary loves to read, does some gardening and watches some of her favorite television shows. Her house sits on three lots on the water with hibiscus, bougainvillea, royal palm trees and birds of paradise.

Bob said his parents planted seven or eight royal palm trees, 5 or 6 feet tall, when they first moved into the home and now they stretch 45 feet tall. The property also has 15 to 18 birds of paradise plants.

“It kept them busy when they were younger,” he said.

Although she used to cook some Italian meals, Mary said she does not have to do it anymore because her son is a wonderful cook.

“I have a son that feeds me very well. He’s a great cook,” she said.

Bob said one of her secrets to longevity is having a Haagen-Daz ice cream bar every day.

“She is very alert and knows what is going on,” he said.