Mae Henderson Ables O’Neill
The indomitable Mae O’Neill celebrated her 100th Birthday in style today, surrounded by her family and friends. Her daughter Jane hosted a cocktail party at home, a proud family tradition.
An original Valley girl, Mae was raised in Turlock and learned a life long love of flowers from helping in her Mother’s flower shop. She reminisces fondly about growing up in Turlock, graduating from Turlock High School, attending football games and her reign as the Melon Festival Queen. Her plans to attend Cal Berkley were interrupted by World War II and instead she spent the next decades as a dedicated Navy wife.
Mae married Butch O’Neill and spent 57 wonderful years together. They raised four children and lived in many places throughout the country as Butch progressed in his Naval career. Her love of gardening, golf and hospitality was shared with the many life long friends they made over the years. A community art class uncovered a hidden artistic talent and today Mae’s home is filled with many of her amazing paintings.
Mae and Butch moved to the Santa Barbara area in 1975 and were very active in the community and known for hosting some fabulous bridge parties. Mae has a knack for entertaining with style, grace and lots of fun. While she has given up her golf clubs, and paint brushes, she can still be found enjoying her garden, playing double solitaire and challenging all guests to a rousing game of Farkle, which she frequently wins!
Her niece Kathy, describes Mae as an inspiration, possessing a positive outlook on life and the ability to navigate life’s adversities. When reminded of her age, Mae finds it hard to believe that she made it this far. Her motto and perhaps her secret to her long life is just to “keep going and live life”. That is exactly what she intends to do.