She might have heard it on 100 days over her lifetime, but “happy birthday” still brings a bright smile to Mary Chernowas’s face.
Smithers’ latest centenarian celebrated her 100th birthday COVID-19 style with her family on the other side of the glass at the Bulkley Lodge on July 24th.
Despite the less than ideal situation, Earl Chernowas, Mary’s son, said the family was very grateful to the staff at the Lodge for making the celebration a success under the pandemic restrictions.
Mary was born in 1920 in the tiny farming community of Fork River, Manitoba, approximately 25 minutes north of Dauphin, and grew up on a farm. It was there she married, at 17, Walter Chernowas in 1937 at the local Catholic church.
Mary and Walter farmed together for many years raising three daughters and a son, until flooding wiped out their crop in the 1960s and they headed west to Kamloops.
They eventually landed in Smithers in 1986, ultimately celebrating 78 years together before Walter died in June 2016 at the Bulkley Lodge, aged 100, just 10 days shy of his 101st birthday.
Mary has 11 grandchildren, 13 great-grandchildren and one great-great grandchild.