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Barrhead residents join prestigious club

More than 30 residents added to Hillcrest Lodge’s 90-plus Club
Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen congratulates Golden Crest Manor resident Chuck Mortimer for being inducted into the 90-Plus Club during a Sept. 15 ceremony. In the background is Mortimer's wife, Lois, who was also inducted into the exclusive group.

BARRHEAD – Several Barrhead residents have joined a very exclusive club — one they’ve been working their whole lives to qualify for, whether they knew it or not. 

On Sept. 15, 32 Hillcrest Lodge and Golden Crest Manor residents joined the exclusive 90-Plus Club. The ceremony was attended by a large crowd of friends and relatives, along with Town of Barrhead mayor Dave McKenzie, County of Barrhead Coun. Walter Preugschas and Peace River-Westlock MP Arnold Viersen. 

The membership criterium was simple: turn 90 years old sometime in the last three years.  

Activity manager Shelly Oswald, who is with Barrhead and District Social Housing (BDSHA) and works at both seniors’ facilities, said the exclusive club began in 1999.  

"It is important that we honour our elders, and the 90-Plus Club is one way we can do that," she said. 

Oswald said it is also the reason why she said it was important to resume the event after a two-year hiatus due to the pandemic. 

Since its creation, 274 members have been part of the club at one time or another. Currently, the 90-plus club has 42 members. 

BDSHA chief administrative officer Tyler Batdorf said birthdays are a time to celebrate with friends and family, but the 32 newest inductees of the 90-Plus Club deserve extra adoration. 

"They've all worked hard and made contributions to build the country and their community, and they deserve all the adoration they receive and to live peacefully and enjoy every day," he said. 

What some of the new inductees had to say 

As part of the celebration, Oswald had each of the inductees write a little biography of their lives, which she read to the audience. The most popular feature of the bio was the ending when each inductee imparted a piece of sage advice. 

Sophie Wierenga, born in Neerlandia, was married for 39 years to her husband Lambert and has five children, nine grandchildren and 19 great-grandchildren. Her notable accomplishments: won a prize for finger whistling at a husband calling contest; learned to milk a cow by the time she was 10 years old and how to drive a tractor by the time she was 12. In her later years, Sophie bought a cow and sold enough milk to buy appliances and furnishings for the family home where she lived for 71 years before moving to Hillcrest. As for her sage advice? Always make time for family and friends and choose to look at the bright side of life. 

Kenneth McLeod was born in Hay Lake, just north of Camrose, but he grew up in Fort Assiniboine in 1937 and attended two different schools in the area, both of which he walked to. Kenneth has three children and six stepchildren. His first wife Carol passed away in 1995 and he remarried in 1998 to his second wife, Ann. They have been married 24 years. He also has eight grandchildren and eight great-grandchildren along with 12 step-grandchildren and 22 step-great-grandchildren. 

McLeod said his greatest accomplishment was that he took good care of his family and had many happy years. As for advice, he says to take each phase of life as it comes. Don't spend time wishing to be younger, older, richer or wiser. Enjoy what you have and all the nice folks and family around you. 


Barry Kerton

About the Author: Barry Kerton

Barry Kerton is the managing editor of the Barrhead Leader, joining the paper in 2014. He covers news, municipal politics and sports.
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