Thelma Fogarty: Celebrating 100th Birthday at The Royce

July 18, 2023

In a heart-warming and candid interview, we had the privilege of speaking to the remarkable Thelma Grace Fogarty, who recently celebrated her 100th birthday on July 15. Thelma’s story is uplifting, from her birth in 1923 during The Great Depression, through her midlife when she worked as an office manager, to currently enjoying her life at The Royce.

Thelma’s life story begins in a small town in central-western NSW called Coonamble, where she was born during the Great Depression into a diverse background with her Australian mother and her German father. The Great Depression enhanced Thelma’s ability to appreciate the little things in life. In her early years of childhood, she only had one pair of shoes and two sets of clothes. Thelma also lived in Dubbo, Katoomba, settled in Lithgow for 37 years then moved to Blaxland. She currently resides at The Royce, Penrith.

Thelma’s married life started when she met the love of her life, Neville Fogarty. The couple married on November 27th, 1945, in Katoomba when Thelma was 22. They built a loving family and have two amazing children together, Dianne Shatford and Greg Fogarty. Today, Thelma is the loving grandmother to 6 grandchildren and 11 great grandchildren.

The professional journey in Thelma’s life is marked by dedication and achievement. After leaving school at age 14, she completed a diploma of business. She was employed in various roles over the next few years which included working at a shoe store in Dubbo and a local corner store in Katoomba. Thelma took a career break to look after her family when she married but returned to work at age 43. The highlight of Thelma’s career was her role as an office manager at a Holden Dealership in Lithgow. Her dedication and commitment to her job was appreciated by all her peers.

Thelma’s later years have been filled with joy at the Royce Manor, where she affectionately considers the staff as her extended family. According to her, “The Royce is now my family and the best thing about The Royce is the staff”. Thelma moved in three days before the covid pandemic lockdown in March 2020, which enabled her to find a sense of belonging within the community at The Royce.

Thelma’s vibrant and contagious personality shines through her love for various activities and hobbies, as she has a fondness for puzzle-solving, reading, and knitting. She loved to cook when she was younger and is well known for her butterscotch pudding and trifles. She used to make fruit cakes for family weddings and at Christmas. In her younger days, Thelma excelled as a sportswoman. Thelma loved playing tennis, riding horses, and mastering the art of bowling. She was president of the Glenbrook Bowling Club and Nepean Bowling Club. She won a local competition in the event at the age of 85!

When we asked Thelma about her secrets to longevity, she emphasised the importance of staying active, both physically and mentally. She performs physical movement every week and participates in other activities to keep her mind working. Thelma has never smoked and has an occasional glass of wine.

Thelma doesn’t feel any different at 100 years of age than she did when she was 60. She recently stayed up all night watching the tennis at Wimbledon! She feels it is a real privilege to reach this milestone and is grateful for all her blessings.
Thelma concluded the interview by sharing invaluable advice for younger generations, providing us with some of her favourite quotes. “No matter how little or how much you have, you should give to others”, she emphasised. She also reminded them, “To your own self be true and you won’t be false to any man”.

Happy 100th Birthday Thelma, from your family at The Royce.

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