Resort’s longest local passes but away from home

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A fourth-generation Queenstown resident has died away from the town where she spent her first 99 years.

Barbara Lewis, 100 – who clocked up a record number of years as a Queenstown resident – passed away last Friday at Ripponburn Hospital and Home in Cromwell. Her funeral was held on Monday in Queenstown.

The centenarian was born on a farm near Coronet Peak in 1909 – and ironically was forced to shift more in the past two years than she did during the bulk of the century.

She moved to the Wakatipu Home for the Elderly in mid 2007. Her condition deteriorated and she was sent to Invercargill in October, 2008, because Lakes District Hospital’s six elderly-care beds were full.

Lewis was fortunately moved closer to home when a vacancy opened up at Ripponburn at the beginning of the year.

She celebrated her 100th birthday in May with a large group of relatives and friends including her son Eon, 12 grandchildren, 12 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.

Lewis grew up in Queenstown and worked as secretary for the Kawarau Falls dam project, and then as an assistant town clerk which also involved reading electricity meters.

She worked in the ticket office at the theatre and then worked in the tearooms on the Earnslaw. In the early 1960s she ran Lewis’s grocery store in The Mall with her late son Roy.