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‘I just love to live’: Vernon woman celebrates 100th birthday

Jane Gagnon celebrated her 100th birthday Aug. 14.
Jane Gagnon holds up balloons left over from celebrating her 100th birthday Aug. 14, 2022 (Brittany Webster - Black Press)

Having lived 100 years, Jane Gagnon has been around for some memorable technological advancements such as washing machines and indoor toilets.

Born in 1922, Gagnon lived through many events prior to her big celebration Sunday, Aug. 14.

She fondly recalls when a farmer had the first car in Honeymoon, Sask., and visited her family.

Growing up on a farm with her parents and six older siblings, Gagnon received her education in a one-room school. She remembers gardening and fishing with her father.

Today, Gagnon enjoys playing cards with her friends every Wednesday and cooking.

“I like to eat. I think that’s why I’m living – to eat,” she said, with a laugh.

As for advice for younger generations?

“Be kind to everybody, and you will have the same payback.”

Gagnon’s family threw a celebration for her, with many friends and family stopping by. She spent the next few days reading all the lovely cards.

“I’m blessed; I think I’m so lucky,” said Gagnon, who still lives on her own in her Vernon home.

Originally from Honeymoon, Sask., Gagnon worked as a lab assistant at the Victoria Hospital, Sask. She married John Huska and had two children, Jerry and Joyce.

Gagnon says she “enjoyed every minute” of her time working in labs, even training in hematology.

In 1974, Gagnon moved to Vernon, where she continued to work as a lab assistant for five years. Gagnon moved first to start her new job, with Huska staying back to sell their home.

“It was a big decision, you know, a woman going first to a job and the husband staying behind to sell the house,” she said.

Sadly, Huska passed away in 1976 following a battle with cancer.

Gagnon remarried in 1981 to a man named Emile Gagnon. The couple met when Emile moved to the house across the street from Gagnon in 1979. The two often played cards together in the neighbourhood.

“I decided it would be nice when he got older, and I got older to have someone with me, and it was very nice,” Gagnon recalls.

They remained happily married for 38 years until Emile’s death in 2019.

Asking to give advice on how to live a long and fulfilling life was a difficult question for Gagnon to answer.

“I don’t know. I’ve had health issues, I’ve had cancer and Bell’s Palsy, but now that it’s over, it was nothing big. But, it was big, at the time, when I was diagnosed with cancer in 1989.”

Gagnon says that a positive attitude and love for life got her through the tough times.

“I just love to live.”

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