Surrey’s James and Sheila Dass are celebrating their 70th anniversary. The two were married in Fiji on Aug. 31

Seventy reasons to celebrate

James and Sheila Dass look back at 70 years of marriage.

It was an outdoor Hindu marriage under a canopy made of bamboo sticks supporting a corrugated tin roof and walls of coconut leaves.

On the night Aug. 31, 1946, about 150 people from the village of Tamavua in the southeast corner of the main island of Fiji gathered for the wedding of James and Sheila Dass.

James was 24 worked and worked as a carpenter for Sheila’s uncle. She was 15, the oldest of six sisters, and dedicated to “domestic duties.”

It was an arranged marriage – normal for the time, says daughter Marion Abid, one of their six children.

“I was working and didn’t know anything about it,” says James.

That night, Sheila was nervous, and a bit sad knowing she’d miss her family as she moved in with his.

Seventy years later, with their anniversary coming up, Sheila has no complaints.

“I feel it – it’s a big day. I’m so happy with my children and great-grandchildren” – they have 24 of them, from 17 grandchildren.

Photo: The couple on their wedding day.

Today, the long-retired couple lives in a seniors’ complex near Bear Creek Park.

Both use walkers, and for ages 94 and 85 respectively, James and Sheila are in pretty good health.

He plays pool and cards with his friends in the neighbourhood, and even drove his van until last year.

“I miss my driving, but now all of my children take me out,” he says.

“Their love for each other is very strong, and whenever they are separated, they miss each other,” says daughter Venus Cardwell.

Their kids, now mostly in their 60s, remember growing up with a hardworking father, a stay-at-home mom, and lots of swimming and fishing in Fiji.

The family moved to Canada in 1974 and they’ve long-since considered it their home.

Before their wedding, neighbourhood invitations were door-to-door. Instead of cards, they gave out handfuls of rice or flour.

They’ve sent out invitations to families and friends for the 70th anniversary celebration on the afternoon Aug. 27 in Fleetwood.

On the top of the card are the words “Love is Eternal.”

Anyone interested in attending can contact Venus Cardwell at 604-588-2487 or vk_cardwell@yahoo.com

Just Posted

Former Cloverdale youth pastor guilty of one count of sexual assault

Judge cites reasonable doubt in finding Samuel Emerson not guilty of majority of charges

Transgender inmate loses court case against Surrey Pretrial

Petitioner argued denial of transfer to women’s prison was unreasonable and unfair

Athletes to mentor Surrey students with $720K boost for ‘Classroom Champions’

Program will involve close to 6,000 students and 150 teachers over the next three years

Whalley-area developer named Surrey’s Business Person of the Year

Charan Sethi among winners at 2019 Surrey Business Excellence Awards gala

Surrey agency receives $250K to open ‘no cost’ legal clinic

Law Foundation of B.C. provided the grant to Sources Community Resources Society

VIDEO: Canadian allergists’ group wants Benadryl behind the counter due to side effects

Some doctors say the medication is over-used because of its easy availability

Yelling at your dog might hurt its long-term mental health: study

Researchers find dogs trained using negative reinforcement are more ‘pessimistic’

Vancouver Island soap company releases Lucky Lager beer soap

Beer-infused olive oil soap comes out just in time for holiday shopping

Jagmeet Singh says he’ll vote against throne speech if NDP requests not met

Singh is to meet with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau on Thursday

Community uses loophole to paint 16 rainbow crosswalks after B.C. council says no

So far 11 rainbows are painted and five planned, all since council denied the first proposal in September

Workers’ camp at LNG facility in Kitimat takes shape

Extensive worker camp now being assembled

238 and counting: Vancouver gelato shop sets Guinness World record for most flavours

Vince Misceo has come up with 588 different flavours over the decades

Killer who fled to Taiwan day after shooting B.C. man over $80 sentenced 13 years later

The sentence comes 13 years after Shaoxin Zhang, 19, was killed in a Burnaby parking lot

Most Read

l -->