Life lessons, a 100 years on

Longtime Keremeos resident Viola Manery, who now resides in Chilliwack, is celebrating her 100th birthday.

  • Jun. 17, 2015 6:00 a.m.

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

than she.

“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

fruit orchard.

To say her life was busy on the

orchard and in the community is

an understatement.

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,

and strawberries.

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

Purple Lodge.

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

remained active.

“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,

she adds.

“Mom is never short of words

— she can talk at the drop of a

hat. She has a pretty good outlook

on life.”

“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.