Birthday celebrations for much-loved Imbil centurion - Centacare Brisbane

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The end of 2020 was a time of significant celebration for Winn Stehbens and her family, with the much-loved Imbil local marking her 100th birthday.

On Friday 18 December, Winn was joined by family and friends – including members of Centacare’s Gympie team – for a full day of celebrations.

The celebrations were a chance to reflect on Winn’s accomplished life which began in Brisbane’s Kelvin Grove on 18 December 1920.

Winn’s faith was a large part of her upbringing, and her work at Kelvin Grove’s local Sunday school saw her attend an Easter Rally in Gympie in 1939 where she met Rob, who she went on to marry in 1945 shortly after his return from World War II. Despite the distance between them during this time, Winn and Rob’s relationship blossomed, with Winn receiving almost 400 love letters from him – all of which she still has today.

Since moving to Imbil in 1945, Winn established herself early on as a custodian of the local community, with her faith being a main driver for her work. Winn’s strong commitment to her faith has continued to this day and was acknowledged in a message from Archbishop Mark Coleridge at the celebrations who described the “faithful love” Winn has given as “a great gift to your family, church and the whole world”.

Winn was the Superintendent at Imbil’s local Sunday school and inspired many young people to pursue their faith. Once she ended her time in this role to focus on having her four children, Winn continued to educate others on spreading faith across the community. Winn remains staunchly community-minded to this day, and over the years has been involved in many initiatives including local art and craft groups, seniors groups and the Country Women’s Association. Her 1955 publication on the history of Imbil remains a proud achievement for Winn and her family. Gardening is a passion of Winn’s and locals look forward to seeing her contribution each year to the Imbil Show.

Winn has shown no signs of slowing down in the past 10 years. She’s travelled both domestically and internationally, climbed Mt Cooroora and remains a member of the Country Women’s Association. Winn’s often surrounded by her large family, which includes eight grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren. She was thrilled to have five generations present at her birthday celebrations.

Most importantly over the past century, Winn has seized every moment of her life. The rich sum of experiences throughout her 100 years have inspired her number one piece of life advice which is simply to “be thankful for every new day”.