Gladys Towriss, who celebrates her 100th birthday today, has spent many of her years helping others.
© Justin Crann
Gladys Towriss, who turns 100 Friday, has spent much of her life living for others.
"It's just something I have done ever since I was old enough to remember," Towriss told the Times-Herald. "When I lived with my grandmother, I had chores to do there."
"She is always caring about others and involved," said Rosalie Marcil, Gladys's daughter. "She has lived her life for others, I think. ... She comes to my place and she will help dust or do dishes when she comes. She still wants to be helping."
Towriss, who now lives at Mulberry Estate, spent many years as a teacher at country schools. She was raised on a farm outside of Moose Jaw, where she had a pet dog and six siblings — three brothers and three sisters.
When she was younger, she volunteered at the Moose Jaw Public Library, which celebrated its centennial a day before Towriss is celebrating her own.
"In her retirement, she volunteered at the library to help kids who were having trouble reading," Marcil said. "Reading is something she enjoys, and she wants to help others enjoy, too."
According to Marcil, Towriss has continued her reading lessons, but now on a more personal level: she is tutoring her grandchildren.
In particular, Marcil said, she is helping one of her granddaughters, who was instructed primarily in French.
"It means a lot to me to see my family reading," noted Towriss.
The love of words and volunteerism with libraries is something that has followed Towriss into the Mulberry Estate.
"She helps out with the library here," she explained. "They get books in from the public library, a whole group of them here, on loan. She helps out with recording them when they're in."
Her volunteerism with libraries is no coincidence, it would seem — in school, Towriss said, her favourite subject was reading and, even in her day to day life, reading is important.
"I lose myself in the books," Towriss said, noting that she likes the Readers Digest condensed books because "there's four complete stories in them."
When asked what her secret to a long life is, Towriss said, "I really don't know, I just live from day to day."
But Marcil said her mother is too modest.
"She still wants to be helping. I think, when a person has an attitude like that, when they're involved and caring about other people, it helps a lot," she said. "I see some older people who just kind of retreat into themselves ... but mom, when she's able, she still wants to help out and do things."
When asked what she looks forward to in her future, Towriss said, "I don't look forward very far. To take one day at a time, that's my motto."
At 100 years young, it seems to be a good motto to live by.