One of three birthday cakes needed to feed the masses for Dorothy Adair’s 106th birthday. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Setting a new standard for 106-year-olds

Island woman’s active lifestyle includes a trip to Scotland in the works for May

Dorothy Adair of Chemainus is living life to the fullest. And that’s saying something at the age of 106.

She still lives in her own place and she’s got places to go, things to see.

“I still travel a little bit,” she said during her birthday luncheon Wednesday at the Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre following her actual 106th birthday on Tuesday, Feb. 11.

“I’m hoping to go to Scotland for a wedding in May. I’ve been there many times.”

Adair only moved to Chemainus all the way from Ontario in May of 2018 at the age of 104. She’s overwhelmed how the community has embraced her during that time.

“I go into the drug store and they call me ‘Dorothy,’” Adair grinned.

The luncheon in her honour brought out nearly 70 people. She’s a regular at the 55+ Activity Centre and is now almost double the age minimum.

“I’m very happy about the food,” said Adair. “I really thought it was wonderful.”

As for the turnout, it was “more than I thought,” she added. “We brought plates for 60 and they ran out.”

The many new friends Adair has made at the centre simply marvel at how great she looks and her overall good health. Other than a slight hearing deficiency, she doesn’t have any persistent problems. Hey, you can’t have it all.

“Dorothy sort of came here out of the blue,” recalled 55+ Activity Centre president Keith Falconer. “Her grandsons or great grandsons invited her out here and she liked what she saw. She came out here and she couldn’t believe the number of friends she had.”

Adair goes to the centre every Wednesday and Friday morning for muffin and coffee socials.

“She’s a good friend,” said Falconer.

“At one time she recited the Shooting of Dan McGrew. She did that at one of our birthday parties. The thing she likes about this place is everybody just accepted her.”

Jim Chisholm of Saltair, who works as the band administrator for the Penelakut Tribe, is Adair’s nephew.

“I’ve never known a person at 106 who lives by herself, looks after herself, is mentally sharp, physically sharp,” he said. “She’s incredible. She’s one of a kind.”

“She’s got a great quality of life,” Chisholm remarked. “To move at 104 from Toronto to the other end of the country tells you something about her.

“Since she’s come here, all she can talk about is the nice people in the community. Her only regret is she didn’t come out here earlier.”

Chisholm’s son Brodie, 26, Adair’s great nephew, sees her about four days a week since he lives nearby at the Chisholm family compound. He attends to as many of her needs as he can while completing university requirements by correspondence.

“She knows everybody; everybody knows who she is,” said Brodie. “That’s pretty special.”

“I don’t even know what to say,” pondered Bucky, the other Chisholm great nephew. “She’s still enjoying life. Nothing really slows her down. That’s her secret.

“She never says ‘no’ to anything and I think that’s her secret to longevity. We also said we think her secret is she didn’t have any kids.”

“Just a forward-looking attitude,” added Brodie.

Adair’s husband Joseph died 30 years ago. They were both long-time educators.

Adair’s memory is razor sharp and she can recount details of her life with little difficulty. She was born in the small community of Rannoch, Ontario, but considers nearby St. Mary’s as her original home where she attended and taught school.

Adair had a 39-year teaching career before retiring in her late 50s, almost half a lifetime ago. She and her husband traveled extensively during their years together, stepping onto every continent except Antarctica.

“We got to Mainland China,” Adair recalled. “I think that was one of the highlights. Actually, it was the most fascinating trip we had, really. I saw the Great Wall in the distance and I was so excited to know I’d be on it.”

Next stop: Scotland.

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

 

Here she is, the centre of attention: Dorothy Adair at 106. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dorothy Adair is all dressed up for the special occasion of her 106th birthday at the Chemainus 55+ Activity Centre. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Brodie Chisholm and Dorothy Adair have a heart-to-heart chat at Dorothy’s 106th birthday. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Dorothy Adair is the first in line for cake, as she should be on her 106th birthday. (Photo by Don Bodger)

Just Posted

Beaver Creek home hit by fire

Cause of the late night fire is still undetermined

BCHL: Bulldogs set to face Clippers in Round One of BCHL playoffs

Alberni Valley Bulldogs have won two out of eight games against Nanaimo this season

Maple Leafs alumni take over Alberni Valley Multiplex

Inclusion Cup raises funds for Port Alberni Association for Community Living

Coldest Night event raises $33K in Port Alberni

Elementary school students raise $445 with daytime walk

Juno-nominated teen singer from Port Alberni to appear on ‘American Idol’

Lauren Spencer-Smith up for Adult Contemporary Album of the Year for ‘Unplugged, Vol. 1’

Protecting privacy key to stopping spread of COVID-19, B.C. health officials say

The number of coronavirus cases in B.C. remains at seven

Toffoli scores OT winner as Canucks beat Habs 4-3

Demko makes 37 saves for Vancouver

Private clinics would harm ‘ordinary’ people using public system in B.C.: lawyer

Health Minister Adrian Dix announced in 2018 that the government would begin to fine doctors $10,000

B.C. terminates contract with hospice society refusing assisted death

Delta Hospice Society loses hospital service fund of $1.5 million

Child in hospital following fatal crash that killed father, sibling on B.C. highway

The single vehicle crash occured near Kamloops on Highway 5A

‘Die!’: Vernon councillor mailed death threat

This story contains information that might be sensitive to some readers

Hidden message connects Castlegar homeowners decades apart

The Rodgers family was surprised when a message fell out of the walls as they were renovating

Two B.C. men plead guilty to bus-terminal assault of man with autism in Ontario

Parmvir Chahil and Jaspaul Uppal due to be sentenced in June for aggravated assault

Most Read