Abbotsford resident celebrates 103rd birthday

Katie Falk marks rare occasion with friends and family at Menno Place.

  • Jan. 20, 2014 7:00 p.m.
Katie Falk (centre) celebrates her 103rd birthday with friends she has known for more than 70 years.

Katie Falk (centre) celebrates her 103rd birthday with friends she has known for more than 70 years.

Katie Falk, a long-time Abbotsford resident, celebrated her 103rd birthday on Jan. 10 at her home on the Menno Place campus.

She was surrounded by her two surviving children and their families – along with her surviving girlfriends.

Jostling for position, the elderly women joked and cajoled with each other. One introduced herself, laughingly, as “the best friend.”

She took a seat close to Katie, saying that she was there when Katie had her first baby.  Her eyes lit up as each friend, niece, grandchild and great-grandchild took their turn hugging and congratulating her on this special occasion.

Katie was born in 1910 in the Ukraine, where her father was a pastor. She married in 1935 and fled the country during the Second World War shortly after her 18-month-old son died of starvation and dehydration.

Before immigrating to Canada in 1948, she took refuge in Germany with her husband and two daughters. When they arrived in Abbotsford, they farmed at the corner of Huntingdon and Clearbrook roads.

They were founding members of the King Road Mennonite Church.

Katie’s heart for others has been evidenced through the thousands of blankets that she has knit and crocheted for the Mennonite Central Committee, which passes them along to those in need.

She walks independently with a walker, and continues to knit washcloths for charity.

Katie has several family members who have lived to be centenarians, including a cousin who lived to 105.