Lucky No. 13

Nathan Liewicki
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Marceau celebrates 100th birthday with family, friends

A self-proclaimed lady of leisure, Gill Marceau counts herself very fortunate for the life she has lived.

Gill Marceau (bottom middle) poses with her daughter, Vivian Savage (middle), and seven of her grandchildren at her 100th birthday celebration Saturday evening. Marceau turned 100 years old Sunday.

“I can tell you I had a darn good life,” the 100-year-old told the Times-Herald at her birthday party Saturday.

“The number 13 is very lucky. I had a good life, a good husband, good parents and I was the 13th of 14 children.”

About 80 people – mostly family, but some friends – came from across the four western provinces to be part of Marceau’s centennial celebration, one day before her 100th birthday.

A mother of two, grandmother of nine, great-grandmother of 21 and great-great-grandmother of 11, Marceau has experienced so many things in her century of life. The fact she still has her memory is something she is especially grateful for.

Born in the small farming town of Saint-Lazare, Que., Marceau distinctly remembers taking the train to Alberta as a young girl.

Before leaving Quebec, Marceau said her father sold all the cows from the family farm.

“I said, ‘you could've brought one on the train.’”

She’s repeatedly heard that statement throughout her life.

While growing up in Bonnyville, Alta., Marceau developed a love of gardening. After she and her husband settled down in Moose Jaw in 1940 she dug up her love of gardening once again.

“I won first prize for my gardens many years,” she said. “I loved it so much.”

Marceau also spent time in the Friendly City making wine and running her own cosmetic business.

In addition, she lived in her house from 1940 until 2011 before moving into an apartment complex.

During all of her years, however, there are two things that stand out in her mind that typify how times have changed over the past 100 years.

“When I came here we still had horses delivering milk and there were no second-hand cars to be bought,” said Marceau.

Vivian Savage said her mother’s good genes are likely the cause of her living to 100. Marceau’s mother lived to be 99 years old and her father was nearly 90 before he died.

Many of her siblings also lived into their 90s. 

“Mom was always a very sociable person,” said Savage. “She was a good homemaker, was always active in the community and loves her grandchildren.”

Nathan Liewicki can be reached at 306-691-1256 or follow him on Twitter @liewicks

Organizations: Times-Herald

Geographic location: Saint-Lazare, Alberta, Quebec Bonnyville Moose Jaw Friendly

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