THE founder of the iconic Blowes chain of Central West menswear stores has celebrated a remarkable milestone, turning 105 last week.
Cyril Blowes opened his first menswear store in Mudgee in 1936 and expanded the business to open shops in Bathurst, Orange and Dubbo, along with Wagga Wagga in the Riverina.
With his wife of 77 years beside him, and surrounded by his neighbours and friends, Mr Blowes enjoyed his 105th birthday party at his home on the Mid North Coast last Wednesday.
The cake for the occasion, fashioned into a cricket bat, read “105 not out”.
“Life has been good. I’ve been fortunate. I wouldn’t say lucky, I’d say fortunate,” Mr Blowes said following the birthday celebrations. “I give a lot of credit to my parents. I have some good genes.”
Mr Blowes moved into the Harbourside Haven seniors village at Shoal Bay about 10 months ago. His wife, Pattie, who turned 97 in February, followed shortly after.
In a birthday speech , he paid tribute to the staff and his fellow Harbourside residents.
“It’s one of the best moves we’ve made, particularly at our age,” he said. “We’ve fitted in very well here. The staff, the service here, are excellent.”
In another milestone, the Bloweses marked their 77th wedding anniversary on March 23.
The pair met at a ball in Mudgee, where Pattie lived. Mr Blowes had moved to Mudgee to open his menswear business, Blowes Clothing, which is still operating today.
“It wasn’t love at first sight,” Mr Blowes said during an interview in 2016.
“We had different partners but we seemed to get back together every now and then. We thought staying together would be the best thing to do.”
They were married in March 1941, one year after Mr Blowes joined the World War 2 effort.
“It was different back then, during war time,” Mrs Blowes said. “There was a certain amount of urgency you felt about getting married to someone before they went off to war.”
Their first child, a girl, was born in 1942. Mr Blowes returned to Australia in 1945 when the war ended.
The couple raised four children in Mudgee while Mr Blowes expanded his business. Mr Blowes retired and the pair moved to Port Stephens in 1980.
Mr Blowes said he does not profess to know the secret to a long life or marriage. But he said good genes and good family helped with the long life, and forgiveness helped with the long marriage.
He was also grateful for having the “best wife in the world”.
“Every marriage, every family, has its up and downs but you need to tread carefully and forgive,” Mr Blowes said. “Forgive each other and yourself. You have to give to get back.”
Mr Blowes said that he was “just an ordinary man” who was was not without his regrets, but was fortunate to have had some success in his life.