Les Kitchen of Abbotsford celebrated his 102nd birthday on Feb. 6.
Les was born in 1913 in Avonlea, Sask., the middle child in a family of nine kids. Everyone worked hard on the family farm.
When Les was 17, he rode off on his horse to see what lay beyond home. His first stop was Regina, where he visited his sister for awhile and got work as a hired hand on a farm just outside of the city.
He worked there for about two years and then rode the rails to Ontario to visit an aunt and uncle and work on the orchard they owned.
Les returned to Avonlea a few years later. The new schoolmarm, Alice, caught his attention and when her family called her home to Findlater, Sask., because her father was ill, Les soon followed and worked on their farm.
Les and Alice were married two years later.
Les worked for several years as a grain buyer for the United Grain Growers at Gouldtown and in Lampman, Sask.
A few years later, Les and Alice purchased a general store in Tessier, Sask.
In 1946, they sold the business and bought another store in Broderick, Sask.
Business was good, and some years were better than others, depending on how the farmers’ crops turned out.
In 1956, there was a fire at the store, and the building was not worth repairing.
Les became the temporary manager in the grocery department of the Co-op in Outlook, Sask.
He then went back to grain-buying, this time for the Saskatchewan Wheat Pool in Dunblain, Broderick and Tullis, where he retired.
The couple then moved to Outlook. After Alice passed away in 2002, Les lived there for a few years before moving to Abbotsford.
The couple had three children – two daughters who live in B.C. and a son who lives in Saskatchewan. There are now seven grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great-grandchild.
Les likes watching all types of sports and old westerns on TV and still enjoys playing cards at a number of seniors’ clubs in Abbotsford three or four times a week.