More centenarians at Dakota House
Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 13/07/2022 (208 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Meet Louise Garbutt, an inspiring centenarian now in her ninth year at Dakota House.
She was born Louise Studham at Dugald, Man., on Feb. 6, 1922. After high school she worked at Eaton’s in the old building as a switchboard operator. One event seared into her memory bank is that of the Sept. 1, 1947, train accident at Dugald, labelled by Wikipedia as “the Minaki train crash.” (Interesting read.)
In 1942, Louise married a man in the air force, Arthur Garbutt. They lived in Brandon, followed by Winnipeg, where they raised two children. Their daughter, Sharon, became a junior high teacher in St. James, and their son, George, worked at Great-West Life. Both are now retired. Husband Arthur died in 2000.
When I asked what has been most important to her in her lifetime, Louise simply said “family”. She is proud to reveal that all four of her grandchildren are university grads, as celebrated in beautiful photos in her living room. I loved the amazing, enlarged portrait of birthday-girl Louise alone as well as with the many guests at her 100th birthday celebrations at her church. Her son-in-law, David McInnis, was the skillful photographer.
Louise also proudly disclosed her years of service with Job’s Daughters (youth) and Order of the Eastern Star (adults). The latter met twice a month at Windsor Lodge as charity workers in the community. Louise recalled that she served as an officer for Mason Fred Robertson and knew his wife Rita in Eastern Star — once my good neighbours on Glenlawn Avenue. Small world.
Bette Buckingham, who helped run the Dakota House Knitting Club, commended Louise for being a faithful knitter as well as a pleasant person to play cribbage with. But for her failing eyesight, Louise still has a basket of wool and needles beside her easy chair, ready to go. Congratulations, Louise.
Our other centenarian is Henry (Hank) Haresign. I knew him as a knowledgeable member of our newspaper club at Dakota House.
Hank was born in Moose Jaw, Sask., on June 17, 1922, but his mother died soon after. Her sister, widowed in the First World War, came to look after the household and became his surrogate mom.
After completing Grade 12, Hank joined the air force as a mechanic. In 1942, while stationed in Souris, Man., he went roller-skating at the Winnipeg Amphitheatre on a 48-hour leave. It was a life-altering moment, for he met his future wife, Margaret — “the love of his life”. They married in 1946.
Two years later, they moved to Winnipeg. Hank worked for Winnipeg Transit, ordering parts for buses for 35 years.
“I had a good memory — I could remember numbers on parts,” he proclaimed.
They eventually raised two children, Helen and Bruce. Glenwood Community Centre in St. Vital became a great venue for Hank’s services. He was on its board for 19 years — as president and as secretary. He also helped supervise bowling, children’s hockey, baseball, and football. Our Adele Thoroski speaks highly of their 25 years as neighbours — as a family across their street and now across the hall at Dakota House.
Their children attended Varennes School. Home-room teacher Norma Macri foresaw that “Bruce knew where he was going.” Bruce became a chartered accountant and office manager until he was claimed by cancer at 59. His caring wife Sharon, three children and six grandchildren are a great comfort to the family. Sharon introduced Hank’s great-grandchild at his June 17 birthday celebration at our residence.
As my language Arts student at Varennes, Helen showed similar conscientious traits. She lives in Toronto, and retired in 2018. She appreciates the practical advice and support her parents provided.
“We had a very enjoyable family life,” Helen said.
To Hank‘s recollections of the family’s many camping trips all over Canada and the U.S.A., Helen delightfully added: “Only once did he get away from North America. He travelled to Great Britain — with me. Margaret (mom) had a fear of heights so would not fly… said she was waiting for the bridge across the ocean.”
“It was a good marriage,” Hank said, “but after one-and-a-half years at Dakota House and Alzheimer’s, Margaret passed away in 2008.”
Family members recently gathered to celebrate Hank’s 100th. Congratulations, Henry.
St. Vital community correspondent
Anne Yanchyshyn is a community correspondent for St. Vital.