Eldest Belgian resident dies, aged 109

2nd January 2006, Comments 0 comments

2 January 2006, BRUSSELS — The oldest Belgian resident, the 109-year-olde Maria Verkeyn, of Loppem, died at about 7pm in the Maartenshove nursing home on Friday 30 December. She had been ill with a cold.

2 January 2006

BRUSSELS — The oldest Belgian resident, the 109-year-olde Maria Verkeyn, of Loppem, died at about 7pm in the Maartenshove nursing home on Friday 30 December. She had been ill with a cold.

Verkeyn had been Belgium's oldest person since the death on 8 March 2004 of Flavie Malfait in Dadizele.

The 108-year-old Maria Annaert (16 May 1897) is now the nation's oldest person. She lives in the Herftsvreugde nursing home in Londerzeel.

Annaert has difficulty walking, hears very little and her talking abilities are rapidly declining. However, family friend Willy Cornelis can still communicate with her.

"She is happy with all of the attention. What is her secret to becoming so old? She has never had a husband, never smoked, lived always frugally and still prays every day," he said.

Meanwhile, geriatrician Lucien De Cock said Maria Verkeyn had still been very healthy two years ago, stressing that she had been a very spirited woman.

Verkeyn was made an honorary citizen of Zedelgem in October 2005 and the family had hoped she would become the 8th Belgian to make it to the age of 110.
 
However, Verkeyn soon grew very ill and despite an initial recovery, her condition worsened and she bid a conscious farewell to her daughters on Friday evening.

Verkeyn was born on 10 April 1896 in Zedelgem. She married carpenter Boudewijn Arnou and had three daughters: Nele, 78, Suzane, 74, and Simone, 72.  She had 7 grandchildren and 10 great grand children.

Known as a gifted hatter, Verkeyn had operated her own store in the Groenestraat in Zedelgem.

She lived until her 95th birthday alone before moving in with her daughter Simone. Seven years ago, Verkeyn moved into the Maartenshove in Loppem, where she eventually died.

[Copyright Expatica News 2006]

Subject: Belgian news

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