B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Constance Isherwood is presented a birthday cake with a 100 candles on top by Oak Bay fire fighter Jason Ahokas. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Oak Bay firefighter Jason Ahokas and son, George, help 100-year-old Constance Isherwood blow out all the candles on her birthday cake. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood says be approachable, and let others come to you so you can help them. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood raises her glass of sherry at her 100th birthday party on Thursday at the Penny Farthing Public House in Oak Bay. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A 100th birthday party is no small milestone and for Constance Isherwood, the province’s oldest practising lawyer, the secret to her success is pretty simple.

“Keep breathing,” she says, with a smile just before a massive birthday day cake with 100 lit candles was brought out by Oak Bay firefighters. “Nobody in this world is really living today unless they’re breathing and what that means is look after yourself and your health.”

Surrounded by family and friends at Penny Farthing Public House, Isherwood offered a few more words of advice that she’s learned throughout the years.

RELATED: Meet B.C.’s oldest practicing lawyer

“Keep working, you’ve got to keep at it,” she says. “And keep smiling … you’ve got to have a positive attitude, don’t let things get you down.”

Isherwood started law school the same year the first Polaroid Camera went on sale. She’s been practicing law for the past 69 years. She says that while she gets the question a lot, she answers “maybe next year” she’ll retire.

“But when you get to be 100, you don’t know how many next years they’re going to be so maybe I’ll start winding down a bit now but … I’ve enjoyed the work and I’ve enjoyed the people.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria cop, firefighters rescue man trapped headfirst as well fills with water

Isherwood says that while she hasn’t gone to court for a while since the process has been “streamlined,” she remembers the feeling of being able to help those who needed it. The family lawyer recalls the feeling she would get when an adoption was complete.

“The parents seemed so grateful — it’s the realization of a dream for them — and that’s one thing I always remember, the way they seemed to be so grateful for the work,” she says.

But the biggest piece of advice Isherwood has to offer, is the same message she told the University of British Columbia graduating law students when she received an honorary doctorate, where she graduated from more than 69 years ago.

“Be approachable,” she says. “Let them come to you and then you can help them, that’s a good recipe.”

— With files from Arnold Lim



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Lawyers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Medical staff at Bulkley Valley District Hospital urge everyone to continue to follow public health guidelines to combat the spread of coronavirus. (File photo)
COVID-19 and influenza update from Bulkley Valley medical staff

Local MDs urge vaccinations and mask wearing to combat virus duo

This photo of approximately 10 years ago shows Laureen Fabian, on the left, and daughter Caterina Andrews. Fabian went missing last October and her daughter is looking for answers. (Contributed photo)
Laureen Fabian’s disappearance remains a mystery

It’s been a year since she went missing

“We have to make a call out to address this now so our people don’t have to feel fearful,” said Tribal Chief Mina Holmes. (Carrier Sekani Tribal Council Facebook photo)
Carrier Sekani Tribal Council seeks Indigenous-led task force in northern B.C. hospitals

Request made in an open letter to federal minister Carolyn Bennett

NDP headquarters on election night, Oct. 24, 2020. (Katya Slepian/Black Press Media)
ELECTION 2020: Live blog from B.C. party headquarters

BC NDP projected to win majority government – but celebrations will look different this election

B.C. Green Party leader Sonia Furstenau outlines her party's climate action platform at Nanaimo's Vancouver Island Conference Centre earlier this month. (News Bulletin file photo)
Green leader Furstenau declared victor in her home riding on Vancouver Island

Cowichan Valley voters elect freshly minted party leader for her second term

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates the COVID-19 situation, B.C. legislature, Oct. 26, 2020. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 case count jumps by 287, another senior home outbreak

Two more deaths recorded, community outbreak in Okanagan

An untitled Emily Carr painting of Finlayson Point was donated to the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria by brothers Ian and Andrew Burchett. The painting had been in their family for several decades. (Courtesy of the Art Gallery of Greater Victoria)
Never before seen painting by famed B.C. artist Emily Carr gifted to Victoria gallery

Painting among several donated to Art Gallery of Greater Victoria

The B.C. Centre for Disease control is telling people to keep an eye out for the poisonous death cap mushroom, which thrives in fall weather conditions. (Paul Kroeger/BCCDC)
Highly poisonous death cap mushroom discovered in Comox

This marks first discovery on Vancouver Island outside Greater Victoria area

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
Rescued bald eagle that came to life in B.C. man’s car had lead poisoning

Bird is on medication and recovering in rehab centre

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Janet Austin, lieutenant governor of B.C., was presented with the first poppy of the Royal Canadian Legion’s 2020 Poppy Campaign on Wednesday. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
PHOTOS: B.C. Lieutenant Governor receives first poppy to kick off 2020 campaign

Janet Austin ‘honour and a privileged’ to receive the poppy

Premier-elect John Horgan and cabinet ministers are sworn in for the first time at Government House in Victoria, July 18, 2017. (Arnold Lim/Black Press)
Pandemic payments have to wait for B.C. vote count, swearing-in

Small businesses advised to apply even if they don’t qualify

A raccoon paid a visit to a Toronto Tim Hortons on Oct. 22, 2020. (shecallsmedrew/Twitter)
Who are you calling a trash panda? Raccoon takes a shift at Toronto Tim Hortons

Tim Hortons said animal control was called as soon they saw the surprise visitor

Most Read