Birthday party marks Ruth Patterson's 100th year

After Ruth Patterson turned 90, she refused to have her apartment repainted.

She didn’t see much point.

But now that she’s about to turn 100, the Langley resident has reconsidered.

Not only has she repainted, twice, she’s also installed new curtains.

She still maintains a certain caution about the future, however.

When a Times reporter congratulated her about her turning 100 on Jan. 20, she chuckled and said “I’m not there yet.”

That tough-minded realism and wit has seen the mother of two, grandmother of five and great-grandmother of five through a century of laughter and hard work.

She was a teenager when she moved out to the west coast from the Prairies in 1929, hoping to find employment.

“I was terrified,” she says.

But the country was entering the Great Depression and there wasn’t much in the way of work to go around, especially for young, single women.

She likes to joke that she got married because she couldn’t get a job.

But the fact her (late) husband George also happened to be someone she knew from her high school days, and had also moved out to the coast, may have had something to do with it.

The couple were avid curlers, and she operated coffee shops at the rinks.

Her family held a party to celebrate her impending 100th birthday at the Newlands Golf and Country Club on Saturday.

About 120 people attended, among them her doctor.

Many years ago, the physician, a somewhat younger person who she describes as “like a grandson to me,” had expressed confidence about her long-term prospects, predicting he would dance with Patterson at her 100th birthday.

And they did.

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