Volume 12 Week 5

Thursday, Nov. 23


 

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(Posted 7:30 a.m., Aug. 8)
Chartwell Belcourt resident celebrates 100th birthday

By Fred Sherwin
OrléansOnline.ca

Chartwell Belcourt resident Yvette Demers celebrated her 100th birthday on July 28 surrounded by family members, fellow residents and staff at the retirement residence on St. Joseph Blvd.

Demers was born in Hammond, Ontario on July 28, 1917. She and her husband Gaëtan Demers started their family in the Eastern Ontario village before eventually moving to Ottawa.

100-year-old Yvette Demers is dwarfed by her birthday cake during a celebration held in her honour at Chartwell Belcourt. Fred Sherwin/Photo

The couple was married 42 years before Gaëten passed away in 1981. They had five children together and six grandchildren, who in turn have given birth to nine great-grandchildren. Yvette’s daughter, Suzanne Demers Copping, says her mother has always been a very determined woman and extremely devoted to her family.

“She loved playing chef. She was an incredible cook,” says Suzanne. “My parents used to entertain people all the time. The house was always full and most of the parties were in the kitchen.”

After her husband died, Yvette lived on her own in a three-storey house until she was 93 when her children were able to convince her to move in with Suzanne and her family.

“We tried to get her into a retirement residence, but she said she was too young to go into a residence,” recalls Suzanne. “She stayed with us until she turned 98 and then she said, ‘You know what? I think I’m old enough now.’”

Besides cooking, Yvette also loves to go shopping for new clothes. One of the “non-negotiable” items on her wish list for a room at Chartwell Belcourt was a walk-in closet.

“She buys a new item every couple of weeks,” says Suzanne. “She’s always impeccably dressed, even in here when she goes for lunch or dinner.”

One of the secrets to Yvette’s longevity, according to her daughter, is her temperment.

“She’s always in a good mood and stays away from anything negative,” says Suzanne. “Even when we were kids, she never raised her voice in anger.”

Her only vice was smoking which she took up at the age of 39 and then quit cold turkey at 72. For her part, Yvette credits always being in good humour, eating properly, getting the right amount of sleep, and drinking a small glass of cognac every day. “Everything in moderation,” she advises.

But probably the best explanation for Yvette’s longevity and continued vitality is good genes. Her sister Jeanne d’Arc, who also lives at Belcourt, is 98. Their oldest brother passed away at 90 and the youngest sister died two years ago at 85. A third sister recently celebrated her 90th birthday.

“I guess there’s something to be said for that,” says Suzanne who is hoping the same genes have passed down to herself and her siblings.

(This story was made possible thanks to their generous support of our local business partners.)

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