Keith Gerow, born Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1919, will celebrate his 100th birthday this Christmas Eve surrounded by friends, family, and his wife of 72 years. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Shuswap veteran turning 100, offers secret to 72-year marriage

Keith Gerow to celebrate a century on Dec. 24

Seven years after the Titanic sank and one year after the First World War ended, Keith Gerow was born near Grande Prairie, Alberta.

One-hundred years later on December 24, Gerow will be celebrating his birthday with friends, family, members of Legion Branch #62 and Patricia, his wife of 72 years.

Gerow and his two brothers grew up just south of Wembley, a town approximately 23 kilometres west of Grande Prairie. It was here he met Patricia who was a friend of his sister. In 1940, Gerow and his brother shipped off to England to join the war effort where they served as engineers, working in a transport unit supplying troops across the English Channel.

Read more: Historical Society branch works to preserve Summerland history

Read more: Wharf inextricably linked to Salmon Arm’s history

Gerow stayed in England for over two years before he was sent home, a few weeks before D-Day, after falling ill with pneumonia. While did he not see military action in Europe, Gerow bore witness to the 56 day bombardment on London – The Blitz. His brother continued to work in the transport unit and his third brother fought throughout Italy and France until the war’s end.

Soon after returning from England, Gerow and Patricia were married. When asked the secret behind his long-lasting relationship, he advised that disagreements should not be remembered long.

“That’s all you can do is the best you can. If you have any arguments, argue them out and get rid of them, forget about them. Live today, don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. Today is the day we live,” he said.

Read more: Canada became home not only to war brides, but also to war grooms

Read more: Poppies from the First World War tour country as symbol of hope, resilience

“You’ve just got to learn as you go along and be compatible. If you have any differences you talk about them,” Patricia added.

Keith and Patricia attribute their long lives to maintaining an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

In the summer they often go on walks, but are less able to do so in the winter. When they were less hindered by walkers, the pair took several trips back to Europe and England, and have driven across the United States and visited Hawaii and Mexico.

Read more: Remembrance Day: In war and peace, two Okanagan women share a one hundred years of history

Read more: 98-year-old French spy to recount Second World War story in Okanagan

When they weren’t traveling they would be playing golf or square dancing, an activity they did together for 30 years.

“I think that’s what keeps you younger,” Patricia said. “There’s people that just sit back and don’t do anything when they get to be 50 years old.”

Looking back on a century of life lived, Keith marked the differences he has seen between 1919 and 2019.

“There sure have been a lot of changes. From the horse and buggy days to the fast airplanes and everything.”


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Robert Smithson of Smithson Employment Law Corporation presents a $10,000 donation to the Habitat for Humanity Okanagan’s Kelowna ReStore. (Contributed)
Habitat for Humanity’s Lake Country build gets $10,000 boost

“I couldn’t be more pleased to offer my support,” says Kelowna employment lawyer Robert Smithson

A Kelowna clinic decided to immunize their patients in a drive-thru flu clinic earlier this month. (Twila Amato - Black Press Media)
Interior Health anticipates increase in flu vaccinations this season

Some 300,000 doses of flu vaccine ready for distribution across Southern Interior

COVID-19. (Image courtesy CDC)
Interior Health reports 18 COVID-19 cases, highest daily count since July

The total of COVID-19 cases in the region is now at 662

The District of Lake Country’s wildfire reduction work near Beaver Lake dam will repurpose ground debris for firewood to warm Okanagan Indian Band seniors’ homes. (District of Lake Country)
Lake Country to keep Okanagan Indian Band seniors warm through winter

‘Ironic and satisfying’ repurposed wood from fuel management project to provide heat: OKIB Chief

The North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society is seeking a letter of support from the City of Vernon ahead of its provincial grant application to establish a 37-space daycare facility to serve the Indigenous population. (submitted photo)
Organization looks to bring urban Indigenous daycare to Vernon

North Okanagan Friendship Centre Society seeks letter of support from city ahead of grant application

B.C. provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry gives a daily briefing on COVID-19 cases at an almost empty B.C. Legislature press theatre in Victoria, B.C., on March 25, 2020. (Don Craig/B.C. government)
B.C. sees 223 new COVID-19 cases, now 2,009 active

Two new care home outbreaks in Surrey, Burnaby

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Thanks to efforts by a Kelowna shelter and Elections BC, anyone who wishes to can vote in the 2020 BC Provincial Election, even if they don’t have a fixed address. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Kelowna group ensures people experiencing homelessness can vote

Shelter supervisor says voting ‘a fundamental right’ even for those without a fixed address

(Big White Ski Resort photo)
Big White receives 21 cm of snow in 24 hours

Resort’s snow base 41 cm deep, one month until opening day

The deer were allegedly shot within Princeton town limits, late at night. Black Press File Photo.
Armed man, in full camouflage, allegedly shoots deer in downtown Princeton

‘The list of charges goes on and on,’ said RCMP Sgt. Rob Hughes

Copies of an unsolicited newspaper have been reported arriving in mailboxes in Lavington and Predator Ridge among other municipalities across British Columbia. (Caitlin Clow - Vernon Morning Star)
LETTER: Questionable newspaper appears in mailboxes

‘I would suggest people do their own research of this ‘newspaper’ before subscribing to it,’ Morning Star reader says

100 Mile Conservation officer Joel Kline gingerly holds an injured but very much alive bald eagle after extracting him from a motorist’s minivan. (Photo submitted)
B.C. driver thought he retrieved a dead bald eagle – until it came to life in his backseat

The driver believed the bird to be dead and not unconscious as it turned out to be

Chastity Davis-Alphonse took the time to vote on Oct. 21. B.C’s general Election Day is Saturday, Oct. 24. (Chastity Davis-Alphonse Facebook photo)
B.C. reconciliation advocate encourages Indigenous women to vote in provincial election

Through the power of voice and education Chastity Davis-Alphonse is hopeful for change

Most Read