“I’ve still got some wind left in me,” Bill Stevens said after blowing out the candles on his 100th birthday cake.
Family and friends surrounded the Second World War veteran at the Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 in Quesnel to celebrate his latest birthday Tuesday, May 10.
“I just quit working,” he quipped on his secret to longevity.
When Bill returned to North America after serving with the Scottish Regiment in Holland, he went to work in Wells and throughout the province as a millwright and sawyer well into his 70s.
Stevens and his wife, Lois, sat beside each other throughout the festivities that included a roast beef lunch prepared by Legion volunteers.
Earlier, when they had made their way inside, they were greeted and assisted by members of the Quesnel RCMP.
“He’s been a wonderful husband to me and a father to my kids,” Lois said of Bill.
The widow with five young children had answered a newspaper ad by Bill “looking for a housekeeper, children welcome.”
Lois recalled arriving in British Columbia on May 8, 1970, at 8:30 a.m. after travelling by train from New Brunswick.
“We sat up all night and talked,” she said.
The couple has been together ever since and moved to Quesnel in 1978.
Helping celebrate his dad’s 100th birthday was Tom Stevens of Quesnel.
“I wished that I would have written down some of the stories that he talks about earlier on in life,” Tom said, noting that Bill had been blown up twice and had to start over again after losing his sawmill near Prince George in a forest fire.
“He’s seen so much over the years, and there’s so much that he has done…When he goes, a lot of history is going to be lost.”
Royal Canadian Legion Branch 94 president Doug Carey said they were happy to provide their facility and supply the lunch.
The cake was donated by Safeway.
“Our purpose is to serve veterans and their families,” Carey said. “We’re so happy to do it.”
To Carey’s knowledge, Bill Stevens is Quesnel’s last surviving Second World War veteran.
Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.