“Faith, family, friends and wine.”
According to Mary Alice “Allie” Mackey Casazza, who turns 103 on August 15, that’s the secret to a long and happy life.
Tewksbury honored Allie with a Selectman’s Citation, signed by the entire board, recognizing her dedication to the community. She is one of eight siblings; her sister Rita O’Brien Dee and brother James F. Mackey — grandfather of current Select Board vice chair James F. Mackey III — also live in town. She has a cousin in Wilmington who will soon be 104.
1919, when Allie was born, saw passage of the Volstead Act launching Prohibition and the Boston Molasses Disaster, where a wave of molasses poured from an exploding storage tank and swept through the city, killing 21 and injuring 150.
She graduated from Tewksbury High School in 1937, part of a class of 20, and trained as a nurse at the Tewksbury State Hospital. She gave back to the town by volunteering at Red Cross blood drives, served as a poll warden and worked for 14 years in the town Treasurer’s office before retiring.
Today, Allie enjoys spending time with her four daughters, 10 grandchildren, 15 great-grandchildren, four great-great-grandchildren, siblings and extended family. She’s a member of both the Senior Center and the Tewksbury Democratic Town Committee and enjoys a good game of cards.
She’s seen many changes in town.
“I didn’t like seeing the high school being torn down,” said Allie, referring to the recently demolished Center School. “I was disappointed when I went by and saw a pile of rubble.”
But overall, she’s upbeat and sees that as another key to longevity.
“I love every day,” she said.
Mackey, who initiated the commendation, said she didn’t want a fuss.
“I was going to do the presentation at a meeting,” he said. “She said ‘absolutely not.'”
The small ceremony at Town Hall was a kickoff to several days of celebration, said O’Brien Dee, including dinner at Al Fresca with family later in the weekend.