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Leo celebrates 100 years!

Leo, a resident at BaptistCare Willandra Village recently celebrated a milestone, reaching 100 years of age!

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01941 Happy 100 Leo

25 October 2022

News | Retirement Living
Stories | Retirement Living

Leo, a resident at BaptistCare Willandra Village recently celebrated a milestone, reaching 100 years of age!

Leo celebrated his 100th birthday at BaptistCare Willandra Village, enjoying a special birthday lunch organised by Village Manager, Leanne Grace, and was joined by over 90 guests, including residents, family members and staff for the celebration!

Leo was presented with a beautiful milestone birthday cake on the day, and was especially proud to showcase the letter he received from the City of Ryde Mayor, Jordan Lane, and a letter he received from King Charles.

Born Leo Francis Kum Jew on 16 October 1922 and one of ten children, Leo grew up in Gundagai. The family later moved to Sydney where they settled in Surry Hills with Leo and his siblings attending Crown Street Public School. He went on to study accounting and worked for over 35 years as an accountant.

When World War II began, Leo felt compelled to ‘do his part’, joining the Citizen’s Military Force in the heavy wireless task section from 1941 to 1943. He then worked in the signalling division in the Australian Imperial Forces for the next three years.

During his time in the armed forces, Leo was stationed within Australia and overseas at Morotai (a small island in Indonesia) as well as in the Philippines for nearly a year.

“I remember having to undertake an aptitude test to see which section I would be best suited to,” said Leo.

“I enjoyed being a part of the heavy wireless task section and signalling division and learned how to execute morse code, among other things.”

Looking back at his life, Leo is especially proud of receiving The Department of Veteran’s Affairs 60th Anniversary medal from John Howard, former Prime Minister as an acknowledgment of his time serving Australia during World War II.

These days, Leo is happy to share stories of his time in the war, and has retained a lot memorabilia from this time in his life (almost in mint condition). Leo is well-known around Willandra Village where he has been a resident since 2005, residing with his (late) wife Edna until Edna passed away a few years ago.

“Leo is such a lovely resident, who is well-liked around the Village. He always has time for a chat,” said Leanne Grace, Willandra Village Manager.

“He has an easy manner and is very sharp with an excellent memory for details, which might have something to do with his background as an accountant!”

Leo enjoys the freedom of living in an independent living unit, with his relatives living in the nearby suburbs, allowing them to visit him regularly.

And his advice for how to live a long and healthy life?

“I think it’s a combination of good genes and good luck!” says Leo, humbly with a grin.

All of BaptistCare congratulates Leo for reaching this extraordinary milestone and wish him all the best for the years to come. Happy 100 years, Leo!