Saskatchewan's oldest person dies at 112

Pearl Lutzko, formerly Saskatchetchewan's oldest living person, has died at the age of 112.

Pearl Lutzko, formerly Saskatchewan's oldest living person, has died at the age of 112.

Lutzko was born in what is now Ukraine on Feb. 15, 1899 and moved to Canada eight years later.

She farmed in the Goodeve, Sask., area for many years, moving to the Ituna Pioneer Lodge when she was 104 years old.

Granddaughter Linda Smuk, 56, said some of her favourite memories are of childhood visits to Lutzko.

"She was your typical homemaker of that time. She had a really lovely garden and fruit. Apple trees and rasberries and strawberries … as a little kid you would go pick those things at grandma's house," she said.

Lutzko received national attention in January, when the Manitoba woman who was Canada's oldest living person died. Lutzko was believed to be her successor, but Suey Key Fung, a Vancouver woman a mere two weeks older than Lutzko, soon stepped forward and claimed the title.

In February, Lutzko turned 112, and the family held what would be her last big birthday party. Smuk said the birthdays became major celebrations when Lutzko turned 90.

"We thought, 'Wow, we should really get together because who knows how much longer we'll have her,'" said Smuk. "We've been having that same gathering for her every year, like a mini family reunion."

It was quite the family, too. Lutzko had seven children, 29 grandchildren, 55 great-grandchildren, and 25 great-great-grandchildren.

A large number of people are expected to turn out on Monday to celebrate Lutzko's life, which spanned three centuries. The funeral is being held at Ituna's Roman Catholic Church at 10:30 a.m. CST.

"She will be missed," said Smuk. "[But] I think she was ready to leave this world. She would say 'how come God forgot about me?'"