Amherstview woman to celebrate 104th birthday
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Shortly after Pearl Thurlby was born, the Ford Motor Company started the world’s first moving assembly line, significantly speeding-up production of the Model T.

The year was 1913 when the world was still full of innocence and wonder. All that would change one-year later with the start of WWI.

Described as an extremely bloody war that engulfed Europe from 1914 to 1919, WWI set the stage for the Great Depression in the 1930’s and WWII which raged from 1939-1945.

One of nine children in her family, Pearl lived through it all.

More than 100 years later, she smiles brightly at the thought of celebrating her 104th birthday on Oct. 5, 2017.

Sitting comfortably in her rocking chair next to the television she loves at Helen Henderson Retirement Lodge in Amherstview, Pearl notes happily, “Let’s forget 104. I’m going to hold-out for 105.”

Connected to oxygen, Pearl breaths deeply when she talks.


Her room is spacious with pictures of her late husband and four children (two surviving) on the walls. Her eyes shine when she talks about her family and life.

“I played sports,” she says with pride. “Softball, bowling and basketball.”

Pointing to the wall proudly, Pearl mentions the athletic ability of her two sons who are pictured playing professional hockey and performing gymnastics.

“I come from a family of nine children. I’m the last one,” she says sadly. “I was married in 1934 and I’ve been a widow since 1970. My husband spent 25 years in the ARMY. I lived in the same house in Kingston for 77 years.”

Pausing a moment to look out her window, she repeats a saying she likes, “God’s got me living this long. I don’t know what he wants me to do with it, but he’ll find a way.”

The more Pearl talks, the clearer her purpose becomes.

In addition to raising a family, she cared for Queen’s University students for 19 years.

“It was hard work,” Pearl says about the support and guidance she provided female students.

Impressively, the Queen’s University marching band performed for her when she turned 100. That birthday gift makes her chuckle.

Asked what she likes, the elderly woman is quick to reply. “I have always liked people. I like giving and I like sharing. I believe in giving, not taking and I always say, if you look for happy things, you’ll get happy.”

Her words float around the room like rays of sunshine.

Warmed by her earlier comments, she takes a moment to contemplate advice to today’s youth.

“Just do the best you can,” she says kindly.

Helen Henderson Retirement Lodge is proud to recognize the 104th birthday of Pearl Thurlby. What a milestone!

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