Stedman Gedge celebrates 103rd birthday in New West
Soldier, farmer and great-grandfather gets birthday wishes from Queen Elizabeth II
It's not a landmark birthday, but it's a big one.
"Jack of all trades" Stedman Gedge never expected to live this long, but the farmer, soldier, mechanic and great-grandfather turned 103 years old in New Westminster today.
"I didn't think I'd make it this far. Mind you, I've never drank and never smoked," he said.
He received cards from several politicians, including Queen Elizabeth II.
Gedge, whose father sold coal from a horse-drawn cart, was born in London, Eng. near King's Cross the year the Titanic set sail.
"I used to be right up the front. he used to stick me up on the back and I'd go along to the front with the horses just in front."
After World War I, in which both Gedge's parents died, he was sent to an orphanage and by age fifteen set sail for Canada to work on farms in Ontario.
"It was all rough work actually. You had to do the milking by hand and all that sort of thing," he said.
I just like helping everybody with little jobs they want get done. Any little bit of building or digging or anything."- Stedman Gedge, 103
He returned to Europe during World War II as a member of the 25th Army Tank Brigade, where he met his first wife, Doris. The two were married for 57 years and three months, said Gedge.
He also outlived his second wife, Margaret, who he married at age 91.
Gedge's daughter, Janice King, said her father has built a reputation for himself as a "jack of all trades." He even built an Austin 7 classic car from parts he found at the breaker.
"I look for jobs for him to do, little jobs mending things, blow dryers, anything that's broken," said King.
Gedge said he likes to keep busy with any sort of odd job.
"Any little bit of digging, or anything," he said.
Gedge said the only thing in life he is still longing to experience is winning the lottery — so he can share the wealth with those in need.
with files from the CBC's Belle Puri