White Rock centenarian celebrates with four generations of family

Alice Lentz receives a kiss from two of her great-grandchildren, Josh and Lauren Benson. The pair visited Lentz Nov. 22, just two days before her 100th birthday. - Tracy Holmes photo
Alice Lentz receives a kiss from two of her great-grandchildren, Josh and Lauren Benson. The pair visited Lentz Nov. 22, just two days before her 100th birthday.
— image credit: Tracy Holmes photo

You know your birthday is a big deal when a gathering to talk about the impending date includes four generations of your family.

Such was the case in Alice Lentz’s room at the Ocean View Care Home in White Rock last month.

But Lentz wasn’t fazed by all the talk about her turning 100.

“It just comes in one ear and out the other,” she said, evoking laughter from the daughter, grandchildren and great-grandchildren perched around the room on various pieces of furniture.

“I’m very happy when I get to visit my family.”

The senior was born on Nov. 24, 1912 in Curlew, Alta.

She remembers making the trek to B.C. by horse and wagon – “it was a lot of fun,” she said – and it’s similar stories that bring a sparkle to at least one great-grandchild’s eyes.

Lauren Benson, 11, lit up when she recalled tales of her great-grandmother being pulled through the snow on a horse-drawn sled.

“When she was a girl, in the winter there was a sled and they were pulled by horses, which I thought was really neat,” Benson said.

The centenarian also has an appetite to be reckoned with, Benson giggled, thinking of one time at a restaurant when she and Lentz both ordered a rather sizable pancake.

“I wasn’t able to finish my whole pancake, but grandma was,” she said.

One of seven children, Lentz spent many of her younger years in the Okanagaan. Hunting and fishing were a regular part of her routine, as was canning homegrown goods and making jam. She only stopped the latter about four years ago.

“She lived a very, very healthy lifestyle,” granddaughter Laura Bobyk said. “You didn’t grind your own flour, but practically.”

Lentz recalled it took Bobyk a little while to warm up to her, during a visit at nine months of age. But the bond has been strong ever since, they agreed.

Lentz has called White Rock home for about four decades, and said the secret to a long life is to “just do what comes naturally.” A strong faith has also served her well, she said.

“I’ve had a wonderful life with my family and I thank the Lord for it,” she said.

Lentz celebrated her 100th with family on Nov. 24 in Langley.


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