A cake, which was graciously donated, fit for 100 candles. (Photo/Colin Macgillivray)

Vanderhoof resident celebrates 100 years

On June 1, Riverside Place hosted an incredibly special birthday party for Marcelle Tibbles, who turned 100 years old on June 3.

Tibbles, who moved into Riverside Place in November of 2007, was surrounded by family and friends who all came out to celebrate her special day.

Tibbles was born on King George’s birthday in Burton, British Columbia on June 3, 1918. Her parents moved back to France soon after, but then made the trip back to Canada when Tibbles was just 10 months old.

Her family later settled on a farm near Fort Fraser, when Tibbles was four years old. Her childhood involved numerous rural chores, including milking the all important cattle the family possessed. Tibbles remembers being extremely fond of the cows and even managed to train them to moo on command, a skill that often eludes even the most experienced farmers.

Tibbles married her first husband, Frank, in the 1940’s and later on had six children. The centurion is a true survivor in many ways, including the fact that she had her first born son on her own at her house, with no one there to help and no medical assistance whatsoever. Tibbles can still remember just how difficult that was.

Tibbles worked at the old St. Johns hospital for 24 years, starting by completing custodial work. The work was extremely hard and especially difficult on her back. But, that never stopped from making the difficult journey to work each day. She often had to catch a ride with a friend or a neighbour, but when they weren’t available, Tibbles was forced to hitchhike up to 30 miles just to get to work.

Tibbles then managed to secure a position at the hospital as a kitchen assistant and cook helper, continuing to showcase her hardworking spirit day in and day out. She was routinely tasked with peeling mounds of potatoes, as well as washing a daunting amount of dishes. But, that never stopped Tibbles.

Tibbles joked as she was asked what her secret to such a long life was.

“Oh, I have lots of them,” says Tibbles.

Recently, Tibbles did finally admit to one of her coveted secrets and she stated bananas were one. She still sometimes has two bananas a day.

Yet, Tibbles also believes that it may be the longevity that is quite apparent through her family genes, as her father also lived to almost 100 years old.

Tibbles has six children, nine grandchildren and five great-grandchildren. Many of her family members made their way to Riverside Place to attend the truly special occasion.

Mayor Gerry Thiessen, who was unable to attend, wrote a letter to congratulate Tibbles on her historic birthday.

“On behalf of the District of Vanderhoof Council, it is my honour to congratulate you on celebrating you 100th birthday on June 3, 2018. I would like to wish you a very happy birthday and I send my best wishes to you on this special occasion,” wrote Thiessen.

All of the residents of Riverside Place had kind words for Tibbles, describing her as patient, enduring, friendly, always smiling and a true survivor.

In her spare time, Tibbles loves to keep busy sewing, knitting and crocheting, as many of the people who live in Riverside Place actually have an item created by Tibbles, as she loves to make gifts for others.

One of the most remarkable things about Tibbles is her insistence to keep busy at her age, as she says she absolutely hates sitting and watching the minutes tick by.

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