1. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    would love to hear this ladies life story

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by lessa, May 15, 2008.

    3 centuries, 4 husbands, 109 years
    Born in U.K., oldest war vet walked almost 1,000 km to B.C.
    Glenda Luymes, The Province
    Published: Thursday, May 08, 2008

    Her life has touched three centuries. But, when asked to offer a few words of wisdom to mark her 109th birthday, all Gladys Powers can say is: "It's been a long time."

    Born in an era when a proper lady never revealed her age, Powers remains coy about the 109-year milestone, which she will reach on Saturday.

    When asked what she'd like to receive for her birthday, she says: "It's hard to say" -- then begins to reminisce about the Pekingese puppies she once owned.
    Gladys Powers of Abbotsford, the world's oldest surviving female war veteran, will be 109 on Saturday.
    Gladys Powers of Abbotsford, the world's oldest surviving female war veteran, will be 109 on Saturday.
    Jason Payne - The Province


    It's likely some members of the Western Canada Pekingese Club will drop by Powers' room at the Valhaven Rest Home in Abbotsford on Saturday to wish her many happy returns. She remains honourary president of the group she helped to found.

    But that's not Powers' only claim to fame. The slight, smiling senior is also Canada's oldest war veteran and the world's last surviving female First World War vet.

    At age 15, Powers fibbed about her age and joined the Women's Auxiliary Air Force as a barracks waitress.

    She does not have fond memories of the Great War. After 109 years, she has many better ones.

    Born in Lewisham, England, on May 10, 1899, Powers spent her pre-war days travelling with her businessman father, Frederick Charles Stokes. She had an elder brother, Cyril, with whom she played "boys' games" and sometimes wrestled. (When Valhaven recently received a Nintendo Wii, Powers enjoyed the boxing game best.)

    Powers and her family lived for a time in Turkey and Australia before returning to England.

    While serving in the British auxiliary, Powers met a Canadian soldier named Ed Luxford and crossed the ocean as a war bride. The couple moved to Calgary in 1920, but Powers hated the long winters, and in 1925 they moved again, to B.C.

    It was not an easy trip.

    Because the couple was short of cash, they walked almost 1,000 kilometres along the Canadian Pacific Railway tracks to the coast.

    Powers' first job in Vancouver was at the old White Lunch restaurant on Hastings Street. She became a devoted PNE attendee, continuing to enjoy the fair until she turned 100.

    In 1945, she won the PNE prize car, a Pontiac. She sold it and bought a Pekingese puppy from China.

    Powers and Luxford divorced. Powers remarried and was widowed three times. In 1973, she met her last husband, Andrew Powers.

    She moved to Abbotsford in 1992.

    Described by the home's activities co-ordinator, Debbie Block, as "determined," Powers is cheerful and active. She enjoys music. When asked for her favourite tune, she struggles momentarily, then recalls with a grin, The Blue Danube. She also loves to dance, but must use a walker for stability.

    A musician who regularly entertains Valhaven residents will be playing especially for Powers next Tuesday, while tomorrow 109 students from nearby Dunach Elementary will sing happy birthday to her.

    gluymes@png.canwest.com
     
  2. ChimmyBear
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    ChimmyBear Contributing Member Contributor

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    In the arms of the man I love at home in NC.
    Oh...what an inspiration she must be to those close to her!!
     
  3. ValianceInEnd
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    ValianceInEnd Active Member

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    Hard to imagine being alive for so long... the things that you see. The things that pass by. Wow...
     
  4. lessa
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    lessa Contributing Member

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    Even more incredible they walked through the Canadian Rockies in a time where there
    were many more grisslies, cougars, and other animals that get hungry in the night.
    Also some of those tracks have about a 6' curb so where do you go when a train is coming.
    But oh the life she must have lived. Incredible.
     
  5. Neha
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    Neha Beyond Infinity. Contributor

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    A lady to the core!
     
  6. feather
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    feather Member

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    Incredible life! I've done similiar travels, but not by foot, and back in the 80's that restaurant she spoke of still existed. I haven't been back to B.C in a few years.
    It would be a fascinating story.
     

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