Irene Stoliker marked an extraordinary milestone with her 100th birthday on Friday, July 21 with family and friends attending her cozy home on Frame Crescent in Elliot Lake.
She celebrated with her daughter, Anne Marie Fuglsang, son, Brian Douglas Stoliker and granddaughter Jennifer Elizabeth Stoliker at a come-and-go tea that was open to others to drop by.
The fit and spry centenarian attributes her long life to a love of dancing, hiking, music and gardening, she said of some of her passions in an interview with ElliotLakeToday. The hiking and dancing may have dwindled over time, but her love of gardening is obvious in her well-kept and beautiful backyard.
Born just outside of London England in 1921, Stoliker has seen considerable changes over the century. She’s seen the invention of the television, World War II, the moon landing, the creation of the cell phone and more recently the global pandemic.
“A lot has gone on in my life,” she said.
"The Second World War was a tough time,” she recalled. “I was in the Women’s Auxiliary Airforce for three years and eight months until the end of the war.”
The war was not always tough. She met and married her husband Douglas who was serving in the Canadian Army in England. The couple was married in 1944.
The couple decided to move near Chatham, Ontario where her husband had family in 1946. Douglas went over first, while Irene had to wait to get passage on a plane to join him.
“I flew over in a converted Lancaster bomber,” she said.
Her husband worked for Union Gas and later for another company in a senior capacity. He passed away in 1993 after the couple moved to Elliot Lake where they had a home on Gillanders Road. She would eventually purchase her home on Frame Crescent where she has lived for 19 years.
Irene never worked outside the home, spending her time taking care of her family.
She said her passion for dancing was part of her longevity and has always enjoyed living in the community.
For her birthday she also received greetings from Queen Elizabeth II, Elliot Lake Mayor Dan Marchisella, MP Carol Hughes, MPP Mike Mantha and Ontario Premier Doug Ford.