101-year-old Mainer woman still lobstering

Virginia Oliver was born and raised in Rockland. She has been a lobbyist since she was 8 years old. At the age of 101, Oliver travels three times a week with her son.

ROCKLAND, Maine – UPDATE: The Lobster Lady just renewed her fishing license and is looking forward to campaigning this summer with her son Max, 79. Virginia will be 102 years old in June and Max has just fitted a new engine to their boat. The pair are getting ready for a new season on the water.

It is said that time is what we want most, but it is what we use it least. Virginia Oliver has had a lot of time, 101 years to be exact, but it’s what she chooses to do with it that makes her life so remarkable.

Virginia, or Ginny as her friends call her, was born on Claredon Street in Rockland at her parents’ home in June 1920. The centenarian still lives on the same street but in a different house where she raised her four children.

Her mind is sharp. So is her intelligence.

Virginia used to live alone but now, her 78-year-old son Max, spends the night at her house. It’s easy to get both of them up early…

“I usually get up a quarter of a year…”

… landed in an old Ford and drove the winding road to Owls Head, where her late husband’s boat, aptly named ‘Virginia’ was docked.

At the age of 101, Virginia Oliver farmed her 200 lobsters in the waters off Rockland, usually three days a week.

Her beach legs aren’t as steady as they used to be, but she’s more comfortable in a rocking boat than anywhere else.

Max unloaded the pots while Virginia tied up the lobsters. She is right-handed but has to use her left hand because she broke her wrist a few years ago. When she’s not busy with lobsters, she’ll fill the bait bag with little pups; mother and child work in harmony and peace.

When the job was done, Virginia sat down on the side of the boat and waited for Max to catch up. She does not hold; she just leans back on the thin plank that makes up the bulkhead, inches from the sea, the morning sun shining in her eyes and feeling comfortable.

“They call me Lady Lobster.”

Virginia grew up between the mainland, Rockland, and the Andrews Islands, where her family had a home and where her father fished lobsters and sardines to sell to the local mill. She started campaigning when she was 8 years old and dating her brother John.

All four of her children are lobsters, like her late husband.

What Virginia likes best about lobbying, “becoming the boss.” She doesn’t go out if she doesn’t want to but she enjoys the independent life on the water that has afforded her and her family.

Max credits Virginia’s work ethic to her long and healthy life. She talks all about independence.

“You just have to keep going or you’ll end up in a wheelchair or something,” Virginia said.

Most days after the campaign, she drove her white pickup on the way to Hannaford.

“I usually bake beans on Saturdays and (my kids) come over for dinner,” explains Virginia, who is best known for her pastries, macaroons but especially donuts.

The few lobsters she catches each week end up in her kitchen, where she loves to eat them in the classic Maine lobster roll; Grilled vermicelli, little mayo, and “nothing else!”

A member of the Rockland Historical Society made a short documentary about Virginia a few years ago. She was obligated to answer questions but didn’t seem to know what all the fuss was about. To herself, she is just a patriotic, family-loving and independent woman.

When I asked Virginia when she thought she would retire her lobster pot, she quickly replied, “When do I die.” Something she assures me she is not afraid.

“Everybody is going to die at some point,” said Lobster Lady. “You won’t live forever, so why let it bother you?”

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https://www.king5.com/article/life/101-year-old-maine-woman-may-be-the-oldest-person-in-the-world-still-lobstering/97-f51e49dc-bb67-4f87-a320-53b89ae5720d 101-year-old Mainer woman still lobstering

Russell Falcon

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