Marie Durand serves up pineapple delight for dessert during the Old Age Pensioners Organization Christmas dinner held Friday, Dec. 1 at Sacred Heart Catholic School. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

SMART 55: Cooking for a crowd a passionate affair

Marie Durand was in charge of feeding guests at the OAPO Christmas dinner held last Friday in Williams Lake.

Marie Durand has been in charge of cooking large meals at the Sacred Heart Catholic Hall for many years.

When asked if she loves cooking, she chuckled, shrugged her shoulders and said, “kind of.”

“Before moving to Williams Lake in 1981, we had a restaurant in the bus depot at Atikokan in Ontario,” she said.

“Then when they built the hall at Sacred Heart I started cooking for banquets and the Catholic Women’s League.”

Last Friday, Durand was in charge of preparing the meal for 134 people who attended the annual Old Age Pensioners Organization (OAPO) Christmas Dinner, which was held at the Catholic hall.

“I had about a dozen people helping me,” Durand said of the turkey dinner she prepared that featured all the trimmings, mashed potatoes and gravy, some salads and her signature pineapple delight dessert.

“My sister-in-law Audrey Durand from Hope was visiting me for a few days and I put her to work too.”

Durand was born in Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes, Manitoba, 120 kilometres southwest of Winnipeg.

She moved to the lakecity in the early 80s with her husband, Roger, who got a job at Gibraltar Mine as a heavy duty mechanic.

Roger died on Dec. 22 in 2010 and since then, Durand said Christmas time has never been the same for her.

At the dinner, Tom Scott was the evening’s MC.

Before the meal was served, he told the Tribune for the evening the acronym “OAPO” was taking on a new meaning.

“We’ve changed it for tonight to mean Outrageously Awesome Pensioners Organization,” Scott said, smiling. “I think we are pretty great. There are lots of us here for this dinner.”

After dinner, Scott and pianist. Lorraine Baker, from the Senior Carollers led the crowd singing some Christmas songs.

Manning the bar were Shelly Shobridge and Janet Williams who seemed to be having as much fun visiting with each other as they were with serving their customers.


Members of the the Seniors Carollers, Lorraine Baker (left) and Tom Scott, also the evening’s MC, led the crowd in singing some Christmas carols after dinner. Monica Lamb-Yorski photo

Gene Tetreault (right) was joined by his daughters Bonnie Blain (left), Barbara Tetreault and Sandy Tetreault and his grandaughter Victoria Blain at the OAPO Christmas dinner.

Just Posted

Photos: Women’s Spirituality Circle celebrates healing after wildfires

Gathering draws women of all ages from many backgrounds to come together and “rise from the ashes”

Williams Lake’s anual Irish Pub Bonspiel finals tomorrow

Curling Club hosts season’s final bonspiel

Cariboo Rotary clubs receive $64,000 for wildfire recovery projects

Donations from across country result in $16,000 per club for wildfire prevention and recovery

Future emergency preparedness key cornerstone of CRD wildfire report

Treat locals as assets, not liabilities, among recommendations

Northern B.C. communities offer affordable home ownership, states report

Communities of 100 Mile House and Williams Lake less affordable in 2017 than previous year

Therapy dog newest member of Victim Services

Puppy supports victims of crime in Williams Lake

Cirque du Soleil aerialist dies after fall during Florida show

Longtime performer fell while performing in VOLTA

Canada earns second Paralympic Games silver in 20 years

Held 1-0 lead in para hockey game from 12:06 of first to dying seconds of third and lost in overtime

LETTERS: Two views of oil pipeline protests

U.S. and other petroleum-rich countries aren’t cutting production

Canadian Paralympic team picked up record 28 medals

The 55 athletes strong had set a cautious goal of 17 medals for PyeongChang

Canadian comic Mike MacDonald dies at 63

Ottawa-born comedian had performed on David Letterman

B.C. VIEWS: Speculation tax, cabin tax or asset tax?

Targeting empty homes seems confused and ineffective

Inspections, training needed to prevent repeat of Fernie ammonia leak across B.C.

Ammonia is inherently dangerous and should be not used in skating and curling rinks, says one expert

RCMP move to arrest pipeline protesters at entrance to Trans Mountain work site

28 demonstrators began blocking the entrance to Kinder Morgan’s work site at about 10 a.m. Saturday

Most Read