Evelyn Edwards might say that strong family ties are the secret to longevity.
Or maybe it’s hot air ballooning in your 80s. Or learning to drive a snowmobile at your granddaughter’s wedding in Nunavut, at 89.
Perhaps it’s water-tubing behind your son’s motorboat when you’re 92.
Or maybe even, late in life, becoming a Canucks fan.
Regardless, Abbotsford resident Evelyn Edwards (nee Toop) celebrated her 100th birthday on Dec. 5.
Evelyn was born in Chilliwack in 1914 in a blizzard.
“My mother was only 19; they had no car but dad had a horse. She was so lonely in the hospital that he faced the blizzard every day to come and see her.
“One of the nurses was so impressed with his dedication, that she asked if he had a brother … He did, and she ended up marrying him!”
Evelyn was the oldest of five. Her father was a dairy farmer who settled along with his father and brothers (Chilliwack pioneers) on Sumas Prairie Road.
Evelyn didn’t enjoy school, and stopped her studies at Grade 9.
In her late teens, she went to a Valentine’s party with her boyfriend and caught a glimpse of a fellow named Roy.
“Something clicked. He was a very clever guy, even though he had only a Grade 8 education,” Evelyn said.
She was 21 when they were married on June 23, 1936.
Roy worked at Buckerfield’s, and the couple bought some land in Chilliwack, and moved a small house from the adjacent property onto it.
All five of their kids were born there.
Evelyn relished motherhood. She was also known as a good cook, and resourcefully traded car and garage door repairs for butter tarts.
Roy had a heart attack in his 50s and left his work at Buckerfield’s to become a chicken farmer on Chilliwack Lake Road.
They also enjoyed going south from time to time.
Then, according to Evelyn, “we thought we’d try out curling, and liked it so much, we never went south again.”
Roy became ill and passed away in 2001 at the age of 92. Evelyn moved into a Hallmark retirement residence in Abbotsford, and quickly became known as “The Hockey Lady.”
Three years ago, a Hallmark staff member knew someone with Canucks season tickets, and offered Evelyn the chance to attend a game together.
At the game, Evelyn held up a sign that read, “97, and still waiting for the Cup.”
“I guess they saw the sign. We got to go downstairs and meet the team after the game.
The “Hockey Lady” says she’s looking forward to attending a game with her granddaughter in mid-December.
Evelyn celebrated her 100th birthday with a party at Hallmark on the Lake on Dec. 5.