A Trail lady isn’t going to let a little thing like a pandemic ruin the celebration of a rare and significant milestone.
Irene Pedersen turns 100 on Friday, and in lieu of a big bash, she is looking forward to receiving the traditional birthday letter from the Queen and having a small celebration with her immediate family.
“We had a good celebration last year, which was really great, because of course this year we had to cancel the plans,” said daughter Wendy Ferguson. “It’s disappointing to her family that can’t come. She has 40 family members in Alberta, Saskatchewan, and the coast of B.C. that just can’t travel right now.”
When asked how she was doing? Irene promptly replied, “I’m doing just great,” adding that her greatest birthday wish is, “just to be with my family.”
Irene was born on June 5, 1920 in Maxstone, Saskatchewan and later moved to Milestone, Sask. where she grew up.
Irene married Jessie in 1939 and moved to White Rock in 1954 to raise her four children.
Following Jessie’s passing, Irene came to Trail in 1991 to be closer to her her daughter Wendy, and her three sons, Leroy, Dale and Randy, who all lived in the area.
Irene loves to laugh and never loses an argument, explained Wendy, and like most good great-grandmothers is the first to remember all 40 of her family’s birthdays.
She comes by her longevity honestly, and says her secret to leading a long life is eating healthy and enjoying life.
“One of my doctors said that I was brought up on a farm and I had all the vegetables I needed and all of it was grown in the garden,” said Irene. “And besides I am a very happy person.”
Irene also loved to play ball in her younger years, and has the distinction of playing fastball with her Saskatchewan team on what is the hottest recorded day in Canadian history.
On July 5, 1937, Irene and her ball team played in 45 C heat in Yellow Grass, Sask.
“My mom and her ball team played four games that day in Yellowgrass and they were dropping like flies,” said Wendy. “Everybody was dropping like flies, and the poor pitcher could only go about a half hour of the game, with all the mosquitoes, and that was the day that was the hottest recorded day in Canada.”
Pedersen also has a passion for travel visiting China, the Panama Canal, Hawaii, and the British Isles. But her personal highlight was a 1993 trip to Ireland, where she followed her heritage and kissed the Blarney Stone like a classic Irish lass.
While Irene and her family are disappointed that she cannot celebrate her birthday in the style deserving of a centenarian, she vows to whoop it up even more for her 101st celebration.
“I think once the pandemic is gone, we’ll have a huge, big party,” said Irene with a laugh.