“100 not out!” was the theme for the 100th birthday celebration of Mr. John Michael Dufeal, who celebrated his centenary at his Cumuto home, on Monday 6 June 2022.
According to this recent Trinidad and Tobago centenarian, the secret to living to 100 is being faithful to God and praying to Him for long life.
“Serve God when you are young, and He will be faithful to you. He will not forget you in your old age,” Mr. Dufeal recommends to the present generation.
John Michael Dufeal was visited by Sophia Kennedy, an Inspector I at the Division of Ageing, who presented him with a fruit hamper, his Certificate of Honour and Achievement, and a birthday cake by the Kiss Baking Company—all to honour him, as part of the National Centenarian Programme under the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services.
Sophia Kennedy asked the avid cricket fan about his favourite team or cricketer.
“I don’t have no side… The team that usually wins,” was his response.
Born in Grenada on 6 June 1922, John Michael Dufeal—who migrated to Trinidad at the age of 19 years—shared fond memories of his time in his country of birth.
“I grew up in St Georges, Grenada. I remember going down to the market with my mother to sell coals, crops and spices,” he recalled. “I also remember having to cross rivers to go to primary school.”
Mr Dufeal, who also worked as a general worker on the army base during World War II, shared how he met Mrs. Dufeal.
“We both lived in Cumuto, but I met her in the train station. We travelled together and spoke all the way to San Fernando. Three months after I saw her in Cumuto Junction… I walked her home, and I confessed my love for her at that time,” he remembers fondly.
“I went and see her mother and she told me if I liked her daughter, I would have to write for her. I went by a lawyer as soon as possible to write two letters—one for permission to court her and another for engagement. I gave her mother the first [letter], and one week later, the other,” the centenarian said.
“We were engaged for six months before being married on 29 October 1950,” said the father of nine, grandfather of 35, great-grandfather of 55, and great-great-grandfather of four.
John Michael Dufeal also helped to establish the Cumuto Church of the Nazarene and worked with the Forestry Division until his retirement.
The National Centenarian Programme is an initiative of the Ministry of Social Development and Family Services in which persons who have attained the age of 100 years and over are specially honoured. John Michael Dufeal is one of the recent honourees, having achieved 100 years on June 6.
The Ministry is encouraging family members and loved ones, Members of Parliament and Local Government representatives, as well as friends and neighbours to salute the centenarians in their midst by registering for them for the National Centenarian Programme.
Complete the online form or print a downloadable form for completion at the Ministry’s website at www.social.gov.tt
Completed forms may be dropped off at the nearest Social Welfare Office, or emailed to the Division of Ageing at email@example.com
For more information, contact the Division of Ageing at 623-2608 (Ext 2001 to 2009), or call 800-OPIC/6742.