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A hundred years of living
Many photos were on display Tuesday, Aug. 20 at the 100th birthday party for Langley City resident Mary Harker.
They documented a life that began in Stoughten, Sask., as the fourth of five children in the Brady family, with one image showing the tiny Mary cradled in the arms of a nurse in a starched formal dress and elaborate, oversized hat.
A roadside photo, taken 24 years later on her wedding day, shows Mary in the arms of husband-to-be Gordon Harker, kissing.
They had eloped, along with another couple, to drive from Regina, where she worked as an office administrator for the Simpsons-Sears company, to Moose Jaw.
On their return, her employer made an exception to its rule that all female employees had to resign once they married.
The company did not want to lose such a disciplined, hard worker.
Other photos show her posing proudly with her husband, a movie-star handsome man who later moved the family to Montreal where the head office of his employer, Trans Canada Airlines (later known as Air Canada) was located.
She became a mother of two, then a grandmother of four, then a great-grandmother of two.
She did not and does not like to be idle, perhaps because she was raised by a single mother who became a widow when Mary was just nine.
After her father, a farm implement dealer and carpenter, died in a horse accident, Mary’s mother worked hard to keep her family going, taking in boarders, as well as sewing and catering to make money.
Mary Harker worked until retirement age, when she and her husband became snowbirds, spending their winters in Florida.
She kept busy as a full-time volunteer at hospitals on both sides of the border.
A few years after Gordon passed away, Mary decided to move to Langley.
Her family says she is known for her fashion sense, her facility with math and her competitive nature.
Her son William recalls the time his mother, then well past retirement age, took on him and her grandson at golf and beat them both.