Four generations of Marie Fletcher’s (bottom left) family gathered for her 90th birthday. Pictured are daughters Betty Fletcher (circling from top left)

Four generations of Marie Fletcher’s (bottom left) family gathered for her 90th birthday. Pictured are daughters Betty Fletcher (circling from top left)

Cariboo rancher celebrates 90th birthday

Marie Fletcher turned 90 years old on St. Patrick’s Day, and her family held two big potlucks in her honour.

Marie Fletcher turned 90 years old on St. Patrick’s Day, and her family held two big potlucks in her honour. 

On March 17, four of Marie’s six daughters, Iris Wright, Janet Wright, Betty Fletcher and Karen Thompson, and son, Raymond Fletcher gathered at the 144 Mile House family home to celebrate her milestone birthday.

Daughter Susan Fletcher called from Gibsons to wish her mother well.

Then on Saturday, March 19, the birthday festivities continued as Marie was joined by her daughter, Gail Epp and family, her friend, Clara Biffert, who also turns 90 this year, and a group of Filipino women who prepared a delicious Filipino potluck to celebrate the occasion.

Marie moved to 150 Mile House in the Cariboo from Fort Klamath, Oregon in February, 1931, when she was nearly 10 years old. 

At 13 circumstances took her family back to New York City, but she was never really happy there. 

In the early summer of 1935 her soon-to-be husband and Cariboo cowboy, Orville Fletcher, never having seen a traffic light in his life, left the Cariboo in a very old Chev Coupe, $300 in his pocket and a dream in his heart. 

He travelled to New York and brought Marie and her mother home to the Cariboo.

They were married in the spring of 1936. Between 1937 and 1960 they had nine children, seven daughters and two sons.

Marie now has 45 descendants, starting with her oldest daughter, Iris Wright, down to her youngest great-granddaughter, Hanna Marie, who turned one on March 1, 2011.

Marie published her memoir in the book, In Time A Ranch and shared some stories of her life in the book, Gumption and Grit, published in 2009 by the Women’s Contact Society and Caitlin Press.

Marie continues to live at the 144 Mile House Ranch with her daughter Karen and son-in-law Clint Thompson.