She was the first woman to do the spread eagle on figure skates in Trail and later get the first hole in one at the Castlegar Golf Course, but it wasn’t just athleticism that Sheila Seymour thrived at.
Now 94 years old, the Trail resident has had a lifetime of accomplishments – from joining the air force during the second World War, raising a family, and having a strong voice for local seniors.
But as she counts the days until the Trail Civic Reception, when she will rub shoulders with some of Trail’s early movers and shakers, Seymour shrugs her shoulders when she talks of her own achievements during her exciting life that continues to develop well into her golden years.
“The feeling of getting together with old friends” keeps her attending the annual tea, held this Wednesday at the Trail Memorial Centre’s gymnasium.
Seymour was born and raised in Robson and was the second youngest of five children belonging to Gordon and Elizabeth Brown.
When her father passed in 1925, her family eventually settled in East Trail, where she lived until she joined the air force in 1943.
By 1946, she returned to work at Teck (known then as the Consolidated Mining and Smelting Company), soon after married her first husband A. B. Condy (who was also a war vet) and settled in Kinnaird where they lived and raised three children.
When Condy passed in 1980, Seymour eventually married late Paul Seymour and gained another eight children.
He was a former Trail Citizen of the Year, who was very active in the Catholic church community, the International Folk Society and a strong voice for his Mohawk people.
When he passed away shortly after they married, Seymour moved back to Trail in 1992, a city she had already been tied to while acting as the president of the Trail Eagles Ladies Auxiliary.
She then got “tangled up” with the Trail Senior Citizens Association and became the president of the group for a few years after.
“They needed somebody to be stupid and do something for them,” she laughed. “I was that stupid person.”
Though her family history is deeply rooted in this region, the proud woman says it’s the mountains that have kept her living in the West Kootenay.
Her passion for adventure is evident in a photo album she flips through at her home now in Silver City Gardens.
Moments captured of hiking and camping trips with friends are just a few of the black and whites, some which were captured with a Kodak camera she acquired in 1930 during a give-away promotion.
But it was also her job, an employee for Consolidated’s personnel department, that kept her locally grounded.
“Back then married women didn’t have much chance of getting a job so when I got a job, I hung onto it,” she said.
Seymour has never let age slow her down. The natural athlete took up downhill skiing when she turned 50, holds an honourary membership with Mystic Dream Dance Company- a belly dancing troupe that she joined at 65, traveled New Zealand with two sisters in her mid-60s and is a 66-year Legion member.
To say Willa Condy admires her mother’s zest for life is an understatement.
Though she admits having a strong mom who is “smart as a whip” has been intimidating.
“She believes that motto seize the day and she does every day,” said Condy.
Seymour’s health has slowed her down recently as her knees wear down due to her age, the same reason she is not a candidate for a knee replacement. But she soldiers and does pole walking to stay active.
Seymour looks forward to a new adventure with her family. She’ll soon be jumping onboard the Rocky Mountaineer, a rail journey through the Rockies.
Men and women like Seymour, who helped build a future for Trail’s younger generation, will be recognized during the reception this Wednesday from 1-3 p.m.
Those who are 65 years or older, a resident of Trail for over 40 years and currently living in Trail are invited.
Trail Mayor Dieter Bogs describes Seymour as a “special lady,” one that instantly came to mind when thinking of the city’s pioneers, old timers and native sons and daughters.
“It is important to recognize all the hard work and dedication of our long-time residents who have contributed to our wonderful lifestyle,” said Bogs. “It is important to recognize, thank and respect them for this.”