Surrounded by family and friends, Anna May Kalloch celebrated her 100th birthday Monday, May 18 at Seniors Village in Williams Lake.
When asked before the big day if she thought she’d live to be a century, Kalloch said no. She has outlived her two children and her husband.
“I get awfully tired,” she said as she sat in her suite. “I thought it was a milestone to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary.”
Born to Virginia Langan and Wellington John Boyle in Shell River, Manitoba Anna May was one of seven children.
In 1935 the family moved to B.C. where she met and later married Amos Kalloch.
The Kallochs moved to Bridge Lake in 1947 and had two children — Larry and April.
Eventually they moved to Williams Lake, where Amos worked for the school district as the clerk of works during the construction of Williams Lake Junior Secondary School.
Amos also served as a trustee for six years and later opened his own business, installing water pumps.
She babysat lots of children and in 1960 joined the Women’s Institute.
“I am still a member,” she smiled. “I did a lot of knitting for people and helped make quilts to send overseas.”
When Amos became ill before his death in 1996, and wouldn’t let her sleep, Anna May said she began painting.
“I bought a set of paints for 10 cents second hand, that’s how I started.”
The Kallochs were living at Cariboo Lodge at the time, and a care aid who worked there liked one of Anna May’s paintings and asked if she could buy it.
“I said no I wouldn’t sell it, but I gave it to her.”
Holding up another painting of a cabin set against a lake and tall mountains, she said Amos really liked that painting so when he was in the hospital in Kamloops she brought it to him.
Later in 2005 she entered the painting in the Harvest Fair and won a prize.
“I also painted an arctic scene on a rock and put three white owls — a mother and two small owls and gave it to my neighbour in Glen Arbor. She used it as a door stop.”
Anna May is about four feet eight inches tall.
As a young woman, Anna May wanted to be a nurse, but was told she was too short.
“They said I wouldn’t be able to turn patients,” she recalled, adding she was so disappointed.
Anna May’s friends say they believe the secret to her longevity is her love of walking and her friendships. Anna May still walks every day with the help of a walker and lunches with friends on Fridays.