Lena Johnston, one of the Shuswap’s longest-lived residents, has passed away at age 109.
Johnston was born to John and Sarah Brooks on March 6, 1909 in Glen Ewan, Sask. The oldest of 14 siblings, Lena Frances Brooks moved with her family to Monitor, Alta, where she would meet her husband John Johnston. The two were married and, in 1937, they packed up their belongings in a rail car and made there way to Balmoral, where they settled down on a farm.
“That was an adventure…,” said Johnston of the train ride in an Observer interview the day of her 109th birthday. “We had furniture, we had a little bit of machinery, we had four horses, a cow and a calf, and this crate with the chickens that I had two turkeys… When we got to B.C. we only ended up with one, and we had him for Christmas, our first Christmas in B.C.”
Asked if she had a wish for her 109th, Johnston replied, “That everybody will be happy, happy and enjoy it. Because life is too short to be angry. You better be happy and accept what the future brings to you.”
Lena Johnston passed away peacefully on July 1 at Arbor Lodge in Salmon Arm. A celebration of life will be held at 1 p.m. Saturday, July 7 at Carlin Hall.