University of Regina professor marks a century in style

Jack Boan has spent 100 years making connections with people.

Celebration for Jack Boan's 100th birthday brings well-wishers from across the globe

Jack Boen will be celebrating his 100th birthday on Dec. 16 in Regina. Here, he can be seen at the Canadian Club Luncheon with Lyn Goldman (left) and Senator Raynell Andreychuk (right), with Duna Barber in the background. (Photo submitted)

Jack Boan has spent 100 years making connections with people.

On Saturday afternoon, several of those connections came together for the centenarian's 100th birthday tea in Regina, to celebrate a man who has seen and done many things: he's a World War Two veteran, a professor emeritus of economics, a man who worked with refugees in the Regina community for years and a man devoted to his family.

His son, Dave Boan, told CBC's Saskatchewan Weekend that his father has always been a humble man, and grateful for the interest in his birthday tea.

However, he felt his father would be surprised by the fact that friends from as far as Australia, China, Texas, Georgia and both coasts of Canada, among others, were making the trip to be part of the celebration.

"I don't think he's fully aware of how exciting it will be for him," he said. "I think he's going to be quite overwhelmed."

Committed to helping others 

The number of well-wishers served as a testament to Boan's busy life, with his son saying his father was at his happiest when active, whether that was taking his family camping or being part of community outreach efforts.

In my adult life, people say, 'Oh you're Jack's son, I was in his class in whatever year.' It's very humbling for me to listen to that kind of feedback come back.- Dave Boan, son of Jack Boan

Among his voluntary efforts, Boan got involved with a university organization that would arrange for students to visit developing countries and learn; later, he was a driving force behind efforts to bring refugees to Canada as well.

"I think part of it was just his ongoing commitment to help others," Dave Boan said, adding his father's commitment extended not just to refugees, but to his university students.

"In my adult life, people say, 'Oh you're Jack's son, I was in his class in whatever year.' It's very humbling for me to listen to that kind of feedback come back," he said.

The long-time University of Regina professor Jack Boan celebrated his 100th birthday tea with several well-wishers from across the globe, and closer to home, on Dec. 16. (Submitted photo)

'Nobody's as old as I am'

Jack Boan taught until he was 80, and it has been only in the last year he's moved into a care home, a place that he says is full of different kinds of people.

"Some of us are old, some of us are not — a neat mix. Nobody's as old as I am," he says.

While that may be, Boan shows no sign of slowing down, and even at 100, shows himself as still ready to establish new connections. 

"I sit with a married couple at my table. At the next table, there are some single women. I'm getting to know them," he says, with a chuckle. "Not fast enough, but I think I'm making some progress."

His son is also a regular visitor, saying he makes it a point to stop by every morning and have coffee with his father, making another memory in 100 years of them.

"That's been really valuable time, time that I won't regret."