Carmel near-centenarian nears 2 major milestones


By Mark Ambrogi

Maria del Rosario Serra plans to be marking two milestones soon.

Maria del Rosario Serra with clothes she made. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)
Maria del Rosario Serra with clothes she made. (Photo by Mark Ambrogi)

Serra, a Carmel resident, will turn 100 Nov. 26, and she has nearly made 800 clothing items to donate. Her goal is 1,000 clothing items, perhaps by March. Serra has been making girls dresses and boys pants for 18 months. The items are being shipped to Zambia through Anchors of Hope Charities in Indianapolis.

The Spanish-speaking Serra lives with her daughter, Marta Spence, who serves as her translator, in Carmel.

“I like to help people in need,” Serra said.

Serra said once she reaches her goal, she may continue to make the clothes depending on how her health is doing. Serra spends three to six hours per day working on the clothes.

Spence said she does some hand sewing, but she mostly uses a sewing machine.

“She said it gives her an incentive in life because her role in life had finished, so now she has a new role,” Spence said.

Serra and her late husband owned a shop selling appliances in Buenos Aires, Argentina. Serra was born in Spain, and her family moved to Argentina when she was a young girl. Spence moved to Carmel in 1981. Her brother, Jorge, still lives in Argentina.

Serra used to sew for the family. Spence said she used to sew but doesn’t do it much now. She does help her mother coordinate her donations.

Spence said the family will have a small party to celebrate her centennial birthday.

“I’m ready to welcome my 100th birthday,” Serra said.