On July 20, 1919, Alberta farmers Irven and Carolyn Fulgham had a son.
A century later — through the Great Depression and the Second World War — Del Fulgham is still going strong.
Fulgham reached his 100th birthday this year and threw a proper party to celebrate as close to 50 relatives and friends came together in Vernon (where he’s spent his retirement years) to welcome him to the centenarian club.
It’s been a storied 10 decades of life. Fulgham’s second daughter, Elaine Reich, helps to tell the story.
Born in Provost, Alta., as his parents’ second of five children, Fulgham enjoyed working in the fresh farmland air in his hard-working teenage years, when the Great Depression was in full, debilitating force.
Fulgham and his family moved to the small town of Springdale, Alta., in 1939, where they rented four quarters of land and continued to farm.
In December 1941 the Second World War was well underway — the U.S. had by then declared war on Japan following the Pearl Harbour attack of Dec. 7.
Fulgham was then training at the Canadian Army (basic) Training Centre in Camrose, Alta., where he later became a staff member.
Fulgham was conscripted into the army in 1943 — the same year he married Ida E. Allenbrand, his wife for 62 years.
Fulgham served as a private with the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps for two years during WWII’s climax, attending to wounded soldiers in Maidenhead, England.
When the war was over he travelled on the overcrowded HMT Mauretania back home, where his wife and two-year-old daughter were waiting for him.
In 1983, Fulgham retired and moved to Vernon, where he currently resides.
He was involved for many years in volunteer work with various groups, including the National Association of Federal Retirees (NAFR) and the Heritage Club of Postal Workers.
He also stayed active by joining a senior bowling team that took him bowling in various leagues in the province and helping the Okanagan Mainline men’s team of “Golden Agers” to earn the title of B.C. Champions.
Fulgham’s wife Ida passed away in 2005.
“She is sadly missed and fondly remembered,” said Reich.
During their years together the couple enjoyed exploring Canada, travelling throughout Alberta on the province’s 75th birthday in 1980, and making trips to Niagara Falls and Haida Gwaii. They also travelled to the U.S. to see the Grand Canyon, and made it to Hawaii.
Only .02 per cent of Canadians live to be 100 according to figures from the 2016 Census, making Del Fulgham one of roughly 8,000 centenarians living in Canada today.