Obituary: Oldest woman in Dunmow passes away at 108

Mary Powell with her card from the Queen

Mary Powell with her card from the Queen - Credit: Archant

A beloved 108-year-old woman who is believed to have been the oldest woman in Dunmow died this week (October 27) after a long and happy life.

Mary Powell was born in Bethnal Green in 1908, with one brother and one sister, meaning she lived through both World Wars.

She moved to Edmonton in North London in 1931 with her new husband, Joe, after they had married at St Paul’s Church in Bethnal Green.

The couple were married for 70 years, and in that time had one daughter, Olive, who died around nine years ago.

Olive’s son, John Pinnell, said the family were “very close”.

Mary had an interesting career, working in a munition factory during the war and then at the famous Black Cat Factory, also known as the Carreras Tobacco Company, making cigarettes – even though she did not smoke herself.

Mary, John and his wife, Trish, all went on holiday together to places like Lake Garda, Minorca, and Cornwall – he fondly remembers when Mary flew for the first time, when she innocently asked the air hostess whether the plane would drop them at their hotel.

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Around four years ago Mary moved to a care home in Dunmow, Redbond Lodge, which John says she “thoroughly enjoyed, and where she was loved and well looked after and she will be sadly missed”.

Her birthday parties at the lodge were always a talking point, including one when she enjoyed smoked salmon and champagne for breakfast, and she loved it all eight times when she received her telegrams from the queen.

The staff at Redbond Lodge said: “She will be certainly missed and she always had a smile for everybody, bless her.”