Theo de Groot celebrates 100 years with letter from the King and Queen

The King and Queen’s birthday card to Theo de Groot.

THEODORUS de Groot celebrated his landmark 100th birthday this week, in the process becoming one of the first to get a letter of congratulations from the new King.

Theo was born in the Netherlands on April 26, 1923, where he lived until after World War II.

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If the surname’s ringing a bell, his grandson is Matt de Groot who started his career in radio at 104.1 CHY FM while in high school at John Paul College, Coffs Harbour and is now part of the Fitzy and Wippa Breakfast Team on 98.9 NOVA in Sydney.

Theo de Groot and his wife of 70 years, Joan, migrated to Australia in 1952, a journey that took seven flights and six days.

The pair called Sydney home before spending the past three decades in Port Macquarie and now Toormina.

As part of his birthday festivities, Theo became one of the first to be presented with the letter of congratulations by King Charles and Camilla.

He also received letters from Prime Minister Anthony Albanese, the Governor-General David Hurley, Federal MP Pat Conaghan and State MP Gurmesh Singh.

Mr de Groot said getting a letter from the soon-to-be-crowned King and Queen was “very special”.

Theo was a third-generation bootmaker and became highly regarded for his top-quality bespoke boots, crafting pairs for the likes of high-court judges, even television magnate Kerry Packer.

At 97, Theo had a heart valve replacement through keyhole surgery.

“Apparently (he is) the oldest person that this procedure has been done on,” grandson Matt de Groot told News Of The Area.

“He still moves around well with only the help of a walking stick.”

Talking about longevity running in the family, Theo said he has benefitted from good genetics and living in the Australian climate.

“My father and mother lived well into their 80s, and being the youngest and only son, I knew I had to live up to that.”

His advice for living fit and well into a fine centenarian’s age is, “Make sure you are always busy and keep your mind busy.

“Don’t let the days go by without doing something which you remember, so your brain is active all the time.”

Until recent years Theo remained an eager fisherman, golfer, and wood-turner.

“Make sure you don’t live a dull life.

“Do things you love to do.”

The couple have three children, nine grandkids and nine great grandkids, all who were all in Sawtell to celebrate Theo’s milestone on the weekend of 22 and 23 April.

But Theo most notably credits his wife, Joan, for being able to reach the milestone.

“It is 90 percent of the battle.

“You have a good wife, you have a good life,” he said.


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