Five Abbotsford Police officers showed up at Nora Deadman’s birthday on Thursday, but it wasn’t because there was any trouble.
They were there to deliver a cake and gifts. Coun. Les Barkman also presented gifts on behalf of the city, and birthday wishes were provided in the form of certificates from the Queen, the prime minster, the premier and others.
Why all the fuss?
The long-time Abbotsford resident was celebrating her 105th birthday, ostensibly making her the city’s most senior resident.
Nora absorbed the attention on Thursday during a celebration at the Carriage Lane seniors’ townhouse complex, where she lives on her own and still cooks her own meals, knits toques for the Salvation Army, and plays cards – a form of rummy – every Friday with friends.
Ed Jacob is the husband of Nora’s only child, Patricia, who passed away last year at the age of 79. He is astounded at his mother-in-law’s good health, sharp mind and feisty spirit.
“You take her shopping, and the next time you turn around and look, she’s gone,” he laughed.
Granddaughter Dianne Jager – one of Nora’s two grandchildren, six great-grandchildren and three great-great-grandchildren – said her grandmother walks for exercise every day, doing two or three circuits around her townhouse at a brisk pace.
The only medication she takes is what she refers to as her “dizzy pills” to control vertigo.
But Nora herself jokes that her longevity can be attributed to “drink,” including a glass of sherry every Christmas in her souvenir glass from the 1981 wedding of Prince Charles and Princess Diana.
More seriously, she credits another tactic for her long life: “I always say moderate living.”
Nora was born on June 9, 1906 to the Sherlock family in the town of Haslemere in Surrey, England, and moved to Canada in 1948, settling in Abbotsford a year later. She still sports her English accent.
Her husband, Jim, was a sheet metal worker. Nora often accompanied him as he set up temporary residence in towns where he worked as a project manager on pulp mill installations.
The couple had been married 57 years when Jim passed away in 1985.
Nora has lived through two world wars, travelled on the Concorde airliner six times, and went river-rafting on her 90th birthday. But she jokes that her greatest adventure was her marriage.
Those attending her birthday party are certain she has more adventures to come.
“We’ll be back here in another five years, I’m sure,” said Helen Young, mistress of ceremonies for the birthday party.