Iris Witherspoon shares a laugh with Colwood mayor Carol Hamilton at the West Shore Lodge where they celebrated Witherspoon’s 100th birthday.

Ahead by a century

Reaching the century mark at West Shore Lodge in Colwood

Iris Witherspoon is beaming.

Wearing a silver and pink tiara, a sash emblazoned in red and blue, a pink ribbon and a bejewelled silver wand, the birthday girl laughs and smiles out at dozens of fellow West Shore Lodge residents as laughter, smiles and gifts roll in.

It isn’t every day someone turns 100.

“It was quite a special event so of course we wanted to mark that … She is a great sport. We would not let this day go by without celebrating it,” said Lodge general manager Catharine Henderson. “We are a community here among residents and staff and we are one big family.”

Witherspoon, a former nurse’s aide, banker, caregiver from Saskatchewan via Ontario, has been a resident of Colwood since 1972 – the last 12 at the Lodge following a mild stroke. Staff waitress Diane Galbraith said in her four years at the Lodge, Witherspoon has been a model resident and is first to offer a smile and a greeting every time they meet.

“She is really sweet and kind. She is someone that doesn’t talk much, but you know she is there,” Galbraith said. “She is really open and honest to you and always saying how thankful she is to have us around – really caring and kind.”

Henderson said that kindness is combined equally with wit. Witherspoon shares a passion for animals as well as children, having once being stationed at a sanitorium in Saskatchewan caring for children with tuberculosis.

“We are honoured to be sharing in this day with Iris and it is something that is still fairly uncommon,” Henderson said. “To come to that stage in life and still have a smile on your face and be a happy positive lady, she is a good role model for us.”

For the still-beaming Witherspoon, the party was all a pleasant surprise. “I can’t put it into words; it’s unbelievable. It is wonderful what they are doing; my golly, I had no idea,” she said. “I thought I was going to sit at the table for lunch or a snack and look at this. The staff is so wonderful and the management is great. Thank you.”

Just Posted

More than 2,700 units of affordable homes underway in Greater Victoria

Units part of 20,000 that are underway in B.C.

Victoria television producer makes documentary about opioid crisis

A Just Society includes 30 interviews filmed in Victoria, Duncan and Ladysmith

St. Luke Cedar Hill Anglican Church hosts open house, spring cemetery clean up

Learn more about the region’s oldest cemetery May 25, from 8:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.

BREAKING: Court says B.C. can’t restrict oil shipments in key case for Trans Mountain

A five-judge Appeal Court panel agreed unanimously that B.C.’s proposed legislation was not constitutional

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

New airline regulations bring compensation for tarmac delays, over-bookings

Some of the new regulations will roll out in July, while others are expected for December.

More than half of Canadians support ban on handguns, assault rifles: study

Divide between rural and urban respondents in latest Angus Reid Institute public opinion study

Spring rain needed as B.C. sees one of the lowest snowpack levels in 40 years

Snowpack levels in B.C. recorded on May 15 were similar to those in 2015 and 2016

Theresa May to quit as party leader June 7, sparking race for new PM

The new Conservative leader will become prime minister without the need for a general election

B.C. man who fell off cliff returns there to rescue eagle from vulture attack

Nanaimo’s James Farkas, who broke his hip in a fall, saves eagle on same beach months later

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

Most Read