For a woman who’s about to
turn 100, Viola Manery is surprisingly
Up until October 2013, at
the age of 98, she was still living
by herself in her own house
in Keremeos, cooking her own
meals, keeping busy with friends,
and playing bridge.
Not much has changed since
her move to Auburn Retirement
Residence in Chilliwack a year
and a half ago. It’s not an assistedliving
residence, but they do offer
meals, even though Manery’s
apartment has a full kitchen that
she uses every day.
Manery has lived in B.C.
her whole life. She was born in
Merritt, moved to Penticton, then
to Keremeos for 70 years, and
finally to Chilliwack.
“My childhood was very
pleasant. I don’t remember anything
bad about it,” she says.
Being the youngest of five
children by nine years, she spent
a lot of one-on-one time with her
mother as her siblings left home
or entered their teenage years.
She has fond memories of going
to church every Sunday with her
In 1939, she married Frank
Manery who was 20 years older
“But you’d never know it,” she
says. “He was very good-looking
and it was love at first sight.
When he told me how old he was,
I couldn’t believe it. He wasn’t a
complainer, and he was always
well dressed and put together. It
was really a love match.”
Frank and Viola had two kids,
Richard and Joan.
In the 1940s, they moved to
Keremeos and bought a 10-acre
To say her life was busy on the
orchard and in the community is
She’d pick fruit and pack fruit.
She ran two fruit stands, and kept
up with the garden.
She preserved countless jars
every year of the fruit they grew
and made pies from every one
of them on the farm — peaches,
apricots, pears, apples, cherries,
She was president of the
Anglican church women’s group
for 40 years, involved with the
Royal Canadian Legion ladies’
auxiliary, and got her fifty-year
pin for her time with the Royal
Manery stayed active by
swimming, dancing, and walking
— lots of walking. She never had
her driver’s licence, so she’d walk
downhill into town to run errands
and to get to appointments, and
uphill back home again on a regular
After Frank died in 1985, she
“I was still busy doing things.
I always had so much support,
like friends who would drive me
places,” she says.
“Mom has a lot of confidence
in herself,” says daughter Joan
Tremblay. She’s a social butterfly,
“Mom is never short of words
— she can talk at the drop of a
hat. She has a pretty good outlook
“If I have something wrong
with me, I want to see the doctor.
If I have a worry, I want to fix it,”
she says sensibly.
Manery is a breast cancer
survivor of 21 years, but aside
from that, she has had very few
medical problems. She owes it all
to the “good doctors” she’s had
throughout the years.
On June 20, her family is having
a 100th birthday party for her
at the Auburn residence.
Everyone is going to write
down and bring a memory of
Viola and put it into a keepsake
book for her, says her daughter.
So what’s her secret to living
to be 100?
“You just keep going and try
to look on the positive side of
things,” she says.