Penticton Veteran turns 99

Henry Kriwokon shares some of his memories from his long and eventful life

Life for some people is an adventure and this couldn’t be more true for Henry Kriwokon, who is turning 99 on Jan. 26.

Born in Saskatchewan in 1920, Kriwokon spent 40 years in Hope after serving in the Second World War (WWII). He then moved to the United States for a year after his wife passed away before he finally moved to Penticton in 1999.

“I lived on Vancouver Island for three years, and I hated it there,” said Kriwokon. “I wanted to a find a place with the same temperatures as Arizona; Penticton’s the place. I love it here.”

Kriwokon served during the WWII, going to trade school while in training and then putting that education to use overseas for the war effort. It was when he shipped out that Kriwokon entered into Canadian history, as one of the many soldiers pictured in Claude P. Detloff’s famous ‘Wait for me, Daddy!’ image. Kriwokon returned to New Westminster for the 70th anniversary of end of the war and the unveiling of the statue commemorating the soldiers.

“In New Westminster, there were only two of us invited, because only two of us still lived.”

Looking back, Kriwokon could recall how things have changed from the time of his youth.

“I remember when there were no roads,” said Kriwokon. “Then there were just two dirt tracks, for the horse and buggy. I remember when planes were just one-seaters, and now today? I saw the whole space program; from horse and buggy right up to today.”

As for the secret to his long life?

“I never took drugs, never the booze outside the odd drink here or there. But it’s my genes, and those had to have come from my mom and dad and so on,” said Kriwokon. “I never thought about age, just going from one day to the next.”

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