Wednesday (March 13) was the birthday of the century for South Surrey’s Doreen Reid. (Tracy Holmes photo)

Great ‘deck of cards’ for South Surrey centenarian

Doreen Reid says her decades of life have left her with no regrets

Looking back, Doreen Reid can’t say definitively how she’s managed to log as many years as she has – 100 as of this past Wednesday (March 13).

She was a smoker for a while, so a lifetime of clear lungs is not the answer.

And, she retired early from her position as a probation officer due to health issues related to the job, so life hasn’t exactly been carefree.

“It was a pretty stressful job, so I ended up with high blood pressure,” the South Surrey senior told Peace Arch News last Friday, of the role she was the first woman in Saskatchewan to hold.

Good genes, then, is Reid’s best guess – and they apparently came from her mother’s side.

“My mother lived to be 100,” she said. “She wanted the letter from the queen.”

Relaxing in her suite at Whitecliff Retirement Residence the day before celebrating her centennial milestone with family, Reid said while her life has been a largely healthy one – aside from a nasty virus about 11 years ago that left her paralyzed for two months – “the years are catching up.”

“Actually, I think they’ve caught up,” she quipped.

“Hard to believe I’m going to be 100. I sit here sometimes and think, how the hell did I get here?”

Raised in Saskatchewan, Reid said she had planned from a young age to move to B.C., but love got in the way. While at a welcome-home party for her older brother, who’d just returned from the war, she met a soldier who had spent five-and-a-half years overseas.

Though she was engaged to a Mountie at the time, Reid said rules that prohibited her fiancé from getting married until he had been an officer for seven years only made her decision to say goodbye easier.

“I wasn’t looking for something better,” she noted.

But it turned out to be a good decision. Four months later, in February 1946, she and the soldier, Robert, were married, and they spent the next 47 years together, raising two sons and sharing whatever trials, tribulations, joys and sorrows life threw at them, until he passed away in 1993.

Seven years after that, Reid finally reached the West Coast.

In a video created six years ago by a trio of local students, Reid says her years have taught her “to accept people for what they are, not what they might be.”

The once-avid bridge player told PAN she likens life to a deck of cards – “you play the hand you’re dealt.”

“That’s all you can do,” she said.

Sadly, Reid’s deck has included the “hardest thing you have deal with,” the death of her oldest son when he was 64. As difficult as it was, Reid said she didn’t give up on life.

“He would be so angry” if she did that, she said.

Instead, “you get up in the morning, you put a smile on your face and you go,” she said.

“You have to realize dying is part of living.”

The determination has only contributed more to an already bountiful cache of memories.

“I’ve had an amazing life and I certainly have no regrets, ever.”

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