Weakened by a bout of COVID-19, Australia’s oldest man, Frank Mawer, has died in his sleep on the South Coast.
Mr Mawer, who turned 110 on 15 August, died at his son Philip’s home in Central Tilba.
Until last November, Mr Mawer lived independently in his own apartment at Gymea in Sydney’s south, supported by HammondCare At Home staff. He moved to the South Coast to be with his son Philip, a nurse, and his partner, Stuart Absalom, following a fall.
HammondCare chief executive Mike Baird paid tribute to Mr Mawer’s inspirational life.
“Frank was the most inspiring individual – a gracious man and a man of faith,” Mr Baird said.
“HammondCare is proud to have helped him live his life to the full to the end.”
Mr Mawer’s son Barry said his dad contracted COVID-19 several weeks ago and it had weakened him.
“He lived life to the full even in recent months,” Barry said. “He insisted on sitting up for meals, he did his exercises every day, and had plenty of visitors.
“He went to have his afternoon nap on Saturday afternoon and never woke up.”
Mr Mawer had lived through two pandemics (Spanish flu and COVID-19), two world wars and the Great Depression.
In 2020, Mr Mawer said his advice for living to a grand age was simple – no smoking, no drinking and no gambling.
“These are three things you can choose,” he said at the time. “The way you live makes a difference. And the schooling costs of my six children was a worthy investment.”
While he had not had a drink for 80 years, Mr Mawer confessed to one vice – Portuguese tarts from a nearby bakery.
Born in 1912, Frank married his sweetheart Elizabeth, an Irish immigrant, in 1939. Together they raised six children. The extended family has grown to 13 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren and two great-great-grandchildren.
Elizabeth passed away in 2011, aged 92.
“It was a long marriage to a lovely girl,” Mr Mawer commented.
Mr Mawer and the extended family holidayed at the Blue Lagoon Beach Resort at Bateau Bay on the NSW Central Coast before Christmas for more than 60 years, usually at the same beachfront site. They were so fondly thought of that a street at the caravan park has been named in their honour.
The news of Mr Mawer’s passing was shared on Sunday with the congregation of Horizon Church, Sutherland, where he regularly worshipped for many years. It was mentioned that the great Old Testament character Joshua also lived to 110.
There will be a celebration of his life at Horizon Church at a date to be announced after his body is cremated following a private service on the South Coast.
The HammondCare At Home team who supported Mr Mawer during his time at Central Tilba included clinical care manager Chalmain Hansen, care manager Rhett Guthrie and care worker Rosemary Cosgrove.