Vernon veteran reaches 101 amid COVID-19 pandemic

Birthday celebration through the window at care home

Aside from being a major milestone, Delbert Fulgham’s 101st birthday is definitely one to remember.

Instead of hugs and kisses from family, the Vernon resident marked the occasion through the open window of his ground floor room at Heritage Square.

But Fulgham, known as Del, still smiled to see his grandchildren and great-grandchildren turn up with a giant banner, signs and well wishes.

“Granddaughter in-law Carrie made a delicious maple walnut cake, shared by family while social distancing outside,” said Fulgham’s daughter Elaine Reich.

“Of course, a piece of birthday cake had been left inside for Del to enjoy.”

Fulgham grew up in the Provost, Alta., area where he had been born to farmers Irven and Carolyn Fulgham on July 20, 1919.

When older, he was conscripted into military service during the Second World War and served in the Canadian Red Cross hospital near Maidenhead, England, as a nursing orderly. Upon his return to Canada, he took up farming in the Irma, Alta., area.

He and his loving wife of just over 62 years, Ida, eventually relocated to property near Paradise Valley, Alta., where they continued to farm for nearly 23 years.

During this time they raised two daughters: Eleanore (Bill) Jackson of Edmonton and Elaine (Sam) Reich of Prince George.

Del completed some upgrading courses in 1969 to further his education. That year, he sold the farm and moved to Edmonton.

In 1970, he enrolled in a butchering and meat cutting program through the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology. Later he found there were not many job opportunities in this particular field so he went to work for Canada Post Corporation in Edmonton. In 1983, after 13 and a half years with Canada Post, he retired and the couple moved west to be closer to family in Vernon.

He joined a men’s weekly bowling team and several years later helped bring them to victory in winning the BC Bowling Championship. Fulgham was a dedicated volunteer in several community organizations including the National Association of Federal Retirees for many years. He lived at Carrington senior residence in Vernon for five and a half years before moving to Heritage Square in March 2019.

Fulgham was also able to celebrate his birthday by sharing another slice of cake with some residents and staff members at Heritage Square on July 20.

He and his family wish to extend a grateful thank-you to all the staff of Heritage Square, for the very attentive care he receives on a daily basis, and to those who went the extra mile in helping make this celebration of this momentous milestone possible.

“Congratulations Del on achieving 101 years,” Reich said.

When asked what the secret to longevity is, Reich suggested there are many factors for her dad.

“Faith in God his creator; being blessed by God; a positive attitude; working hard for many years; staying active as long as one can; doing things for others; trying to eat healthy but enjoying ice cream; limited sweets; clean living — no tobacco; no drugs; no alcohol.”

READ MORE: Quiet celebration for Lumby centenarian

READ MORE: Vernon man celebrates 100th birthday


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