Maine’s ‘Lobster Lady’ — 101 and going strong

Published August 2, 2021
VIRGINIA Oliver pilots her boat Virginia to the deep in search of lobsters.—AFP
VIRGINIA Oliver pilots her boat Virginia to the deep in search of lobsters.—AFP

ROCKLAND: In her boat off the northeastern US coast, 101-year-old Virginia Oliver expertly handles the slick body of a lobster as she snaps rubber bands around its claws, just as she has done since age seven.

The centenarian is the oldest licensed lobsterwoman in the state of Maine, and local historians describe her as perhaps the oldest active one in the world.

Oliver goes out into the waters off the city of Rockland three days a week with her 78-year-old son Max, who helps her crew the boat, aptly named by her late husband “Virginia,” after her.

“I’m going to do (this)... till I die,” said Oliver. “That’s time enough. People say to me ‘well, why do you go for it?’ Because I want to. I’m old enough to be my own boss.” Oliver — known by friends as Ginny and to some as the Lobster Lady — has lived in Rockland her entire life and still lives on the same street where she was born in 1920.

“Ginny’s awesome,” said David Cousens, a lobsterman and former president of the Maine Lobstermen Association.

“Ginny has been fishing as long as I can remember, obviously. She’s 101 years old, she’s still going, about three days a week she’s down here, she’s usually here early in the morning.” Oliver is up at 3:30 am and heading out to her boat by 5 am. Either in her pickup truck or Max’s 1956 Chevy, mother and son drive down to a private cove and take their small dingy out to the lobster boat, which sits at a mooring.

Published in Dawn, August 2nd , 2021

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