The South Fraser Unitarians “roasted” its eldest member on Sunday, but it was all in good fun.
White Rock’s Joan Campbell requested to be roasted for her 100th birthday at the church (15639 24 Ave.). She celebrated her birthday on March 29.
One-by-one, friends and family grabbed the microphone and tell a joke at Campbell’s expense, but nobody seemed to enjoy the humour as much as the birthday girl.
Campbell’s granddaughter Lizzie Falconer told the crowd about the time Campbell gave her a ride when she was a 17 years old.
“I think we were talking about my high school boyfriend at the time,” Falconer said, while delivering the roast. “You turned to me and said, ‘Lizzie, everyone says that they save themselves for marriage, but no one actually does.”
Campbell cracked with laughter, and Falconer later told Peace Arch News that Campbell has always been a little “boy crazy.”
Rev. Samaya Oakley, who delivered a roast, told Campbell she loves it when she dozes off during their Sunday congregations, which produced another belly laugh from Campbell.
“I was just shutting my eyes,” Campbell fired back.
Following the service, Campbell said she wanted to host a roast at her own expense just to make people laugh.
“It’s fun. It’s just something different, with everybody saying you’re nice and wish you well – it’s a bit much… It’s quite nice to make people laugh,” she told PAN.
Campbell, who worked for years as a physiotherapist, says singing is her favourite hobby because it bonds cultures.
“It’s international. All people can get together and sing. It’s the most unified,” she said.
Campbell moved to Canada from the U.K. on July 20, 1969. When she arrived to Vancouver, the streets were unusually empty as everyone was watching the moon landing on television, she said.
“We told the children, the girls, that history was made.”
Campbell lived independently until last year, but did go through a brief stint living in a residential care facility while she battled an illness.
She was able to mostly overcome her illness and moved out of the care facility, quite an uncommon feat, Campbell said.
“Once a year one person got out. It’s kind of like jail,” she laughed.
Several photos of Campbell were on display in the main foyer of the church. One of the photos showed Campbell demonstrating a physiotherapy technique on a young boy.
But standing beside Campbell, taking in the demonstration, was the Queen Mother.
“It was 1942 and the bombing was really bad. There was a medical clinic and we were told it was going to be officially open by somebody well known, but they didn’t say who. So we polished the lamps and that,” Campbell said.
“So, in walks the queen… just like talking to the lady next door. She was so smart and she made a very intelligent remark. She right away took an interest and made a very good impression.”
Campbell has received letters of congratulations from Queen Elizabeth and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.
Campbell, who says she loves a good party, says a key to living a long, happy life is to take interest in other people and strive for unity.
She also offered a piece of advice for when life starts to drag.
“When I’m tired, I look at the mirror and say ‘you’re amazing.’ I laugh, because I don’t feel amazing, I feel quite tired,” she said.
Campbell said that the “naughty side” of her wants to shock people, and challenge those who talk down to people of age. She described herself as an “angel with dirty wings.”