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‘A very happy lady’: Vernon senior celebrates 104th birthday

Blanche Schley marked the incredible milestone at her Heritage Square residence Wednesday
Blanche Schley (centre) celebrated her 104th birthday at Heritage Square in Vernon Wednesday, Nov. 29, 2023. (Brendan Shykora - Morning Star)

Blanche Schley loves to eat meat, but on Wednesday, Nov. 29, she had to settle for birthday cake.

She didn’t seem to mind. It was Schley’s 104th birthday, and the resident at Heritage Square in Vernon was happy to let the staff she’s gotten to know over the last seven years fawn over her.

“She’s a great big talker and storyteller. She talks about her dad a lot,” said Aniko Lseles, Schley’s care aid.

“She loves to eat meat. (It’s) the first thing she will eat and finish it every time, and we think that’s why she’s so strong.”

Schley was born in St. Isidore-de-Bellevue in central Saskatchewan Nov. 29, 1919, the oldest of 13 children. She left school in Grade 7 to help with the family farm, which had many cats, dogs and pigs.

Schley left for Saskatoon in her late teens to work at the hospital in the sewing department.

She moved to B.C. and there she met her husband, Carl Schley. They were married in 1953 and had three children, six grandchildren and eventually 14 great grandchildren.

Schley lived in New Westminster for 50 years before moving to Vernon. She never worked outside the home and was always around when someone needed her.

Schley loved to sew, and that made her perfect for her role in the sewing department at the Saskatoon hospital. But she continued sewing later in life.

She was always out in the yard gardening, caring for the plants, and to this day she remains a very caring person according to her family. And, she has a great sense of humour.

Schley loves music. She used to cook all her own meals and she loves all foods (but especially meat).

These days she loves to be outside in the courtyard at Heritage Square on nice days. She loves animal visits and musical entertainment. Sometimes she joins Bingo and fitness sessions at the assisted living facility.

Schley has her routines, even if some of them are unusual.

“She has a routine where she is wide awake for two whole days and will not sleep, and then she will sleep for two whole days,” said Lseles.

As the cake was presented to her, Schley exchanged some friendly words with staff, and smiled for the camera in good spirits.

“She’s a very happy lady,” said Lseles.

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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