What were you doing 48 years ago? Were you even born yet? At that time, Edith King was 60, contemplating life as a senior citizen.
King celebrated her 108th birthday on April 18. She’s now a resident of the independent living wing of Stanford Place in Parksville and she said she enjoys the social aspect of living in the care home, but she admits she didn’t want to move in when her health deteriorated and the time came, only a year ago.
Up to then, she was gardening daily and doing Tai Chi regularly at the Lions Village.
Having grown up in England, one of 12 children, and remembering two of her brothers head off to the First World War and not returning, King moved with her family to Lloydminster in 1927.
She married a farmer, had four children and spent most of her life there, aside from the last 17 years in the Lions Village.
She said she misses gardening, but enjoys the help of the care aids, and social activities like knitting.
Asked about the secret to her longevity, she chuckled: “Yeah, everyone asks me that but I don’t know, I think it must be because I’m easy going, I don’t worry much, I’m a pacifist.”
The longevity runs in her family, with all her children still alive and many of her siblings making it well into their 90s.
Nobody keeps official records of the oldest people in the region or on the Island, but King is likely the oldest Parksville Qualicum Beach resident, with the oldest at The Gardens in Qualicum Beach being 105, for example.
King is not the oldest on Vancouver Island because the oldest person in the country, 113-year-old Merle Barwis, happens to live in Victoria. The oldest person in the world is currently a 116-year-old Japanese woman.
Less than 40 Canadians have been documented living to their 110th birthday.