DUNSTABLE — Surrounded by family members and a sunny spring day, Susan McGovern toasted to a whole century of life in celebrating her 100th birthday on April 7, becoming the town's oldest resident.
Though currently a Dunstable resident, McGovern was born in Marlborough in 1919 as one of 12 childr©en to the Marinelli family.
She was a frequent helper around her family's Marlboro household as a child, even after her father died of pneumonia when she was just six-years-old.
Betty Gerossie, McGovern's youngest daughter, said her mom eventually met and married George McGovern shortly after graduating high school at 16. The couple lived in Acton and had three of their eight children before buying their own farm on French Street in 1947.
Said farm, known as McGovern Farm, buys and raises calves to become milking cows or be impregnated to birth calves for sale. The farm has stayed a family business in its near 72-year existence with daily operations run by Susan and George's sons, George and Hugh McGovern. Gerossie said that Susan worked as bookkeeper for the farm while raising her children, even cleaning the barn in the farm's early years while still being a dedicated stay-at-home mom.
"My mother was always a very busy and ambitious stay-at-home mom," Gerossie said. "But she was always there for us every day, we never came home to an empty house."
Though George McGovern passed away in 1974 at the age of 63, Susan picked herself back up and kept working on the farm for her family. She remained bookkeeper for the farm until 2009 when her daughter, Mary, took over.
"She has that work ethic embedded in all of us," Gerossie said. "Family is the most important thing to her. She was always here for us anytime something happened to us, like a momma bear. She's a very strong woman and very disciplined."
That family has grown in spades over the years, with McGovern currently having 17 grandchildren and 24 great-grandchildren.
She still lives on the farm and, according to Gerossie, took in the sunshine and beauty of her 100th birthday.