Ethel Margaret Wellington poses in the common area at Orchard Valley Retirement Residence. (Jennifer Blake - Morning Star photo)

Okanagan woman reaches major milestone – turns 100

Ethel Margaret, born in 1919, says secret to life is being around good people

Vernon resident Ethel Margaret Wellington (who goes by Margo) will turn 100 this month.

Wellington was born in Winnipeg, Man., on June 16, 1919.

She still has a sharp mind and only uses a walker about once a month.

Carolyn Wellington, Ethel’s youngest daughter, says her mom remembers things better than she does.

Ethel loves helping her neighbours and often lends a hand to a 102-year-old woman who lives in the same retirement complex.

The 100th birthday party, which is expected to have 100 guests, will be a luncheon at the Schubert Centre.

Ethel was two years old when her and her family moved to B.C.’s Lower Mainland.

She said that the 1930s where really hard times, but her parents kept it well hidden so her and her siblings wouldn’t suffer.

“I never ever heard my parents grumble about not being able to do this or that,” said Ethel.

“They kept it all from us, none of us knew any different.”

Ethel’s mother would thrift the biggest couches she could find and then would turn them inside out to sew coats for her children. Ethel had six siblings.

She started going to school when she was seven, before then her parents traveled around to wherever work was.

She would often ride a wagon pulled by a Shetland pony to school.

Ethel also had a pet goat who would follow her to school like a dog.

She was no longer allowed to bring the goat after it head-butted her teacher.

Because times where hard, at 13 Ethel stopped going to school so she could help her parents on the farm when they moved to Surrey.

“My parents didn’t tell me, it was up to me,” she said.

“I could see that they needed help.”

Her family were some of the first people in the Surrey area.

Eventually Ethel, who dreamed of becoming a doctor, started helping one of Surrey’s doctors at house visits. At about 20 years old (1939), Ethel began working at a hospital.

While she was working at the hospital, she started hearing about the war factories where planes and boats where made, and she eventually switched jobs for better pay.

Ethel, still around 20, met her husband while working at the war factory in Vancouver.

“We couldn’t wait to get married and have these three brats,” said Ethel, gesturing at her daughter.

The family moved to Vernon in 1994.

Ethel says her secret to a long life is being around good people, giving specific credit to having an excellent husband and good children.

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

Just Posted

Column: One parenting book certainly doesn’t fit all

Like the fingerprints they are born with – each child is different.… Continue reading

Influx of tourists helping to nurse Penticton’s economy back to health

The city has seen visitors multiply tenfold in recent weeks

Two vehicle crash on Highway 97 in Penticton

The crash happened before 3:30 p.m. in front of the Lakeside Inn and Suites

Pooch abandoned at Penticton doggy daycare suffered from oral disease

A fundraiser for Okie held by the BC SPCA surpassed its goal of $1,700

Keremeos Volunteer Fire Department receives $25k grant

Money used on a truck with low volume, high pressure water pump to fight wildfires

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

Dozens of fish die at popular lake near Chase

A few natural phenomena are possible causes for their deaths.

BREAKING: Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

RCMP ‘disappointed’ by talk that race a factor in quiet Rideau Hall arrest

Corey Hurren, who is from Manitoba, is facing 22 charges

NHL’s Canadian hubs offer little economic benefit, but morale boost is valuable: experts

Games are slated to start Aug. 1 with six Canadian teams qualifying for the 24-team resumption of play

‘Made in the Cowichan Valley’ coming to a wine bottle near you

Cowichan Valley has the honour of being the first sub-GI outside of the Okanagan

Most Read