Lisa VanderVelde/Morning Star Jeanie Ryley poses for a photo with her daughters Janis Paxton (left) and Ryley Shaw as they celebrate Jeanie’s 100 birthday at Orchard Valley.

A life well lived

Ryley celebrates her 100th birthday

Jeanie Ryley made the decision at age 16 to stop celebrating her birthday.

She didn’t want to count the years and put a limit on what she could do and when. So until the age of 97, she didn’t blow out a candle.

Recently, surrounded by a room full of family and friends, Ryley celebrated 100 years well-lived.

Her daughter, Ryley Shaw, described her mother as a life-long learner with a thirst for knowledge and endless curiosity.

Her love of art drew her to the railroad tracks that snake along Kalamalka Lake, long before it was called the Okanagan Rail Trail.

She would jump the fence, sit by the lake and sketch the colourful water and grassy hills.

“I think it’s beautiful down there and I hope people can enjoy it,” said Jeanie.

She donated to the Okanagan Rail Trail project but is unsure if she will be able to manage to walk on the new trail herself but wants to try.

Some of the secrets to her long life are her love of family, God, the outdoors and art.

“Don’t bother counting the years,” she said.