Caroline Durick turned 105 this week and celebrated her birthday with friends she thinks of as family at the Summerland Seniors’ Village.
“Family” and “home” have been important words in her life. She came from a large family and has continued to build a family around her wherever she has made her home.
“You are my family,” said told the friends, neighbors and staff members gathered on Nov. 21 to mark her Nov. 22 birthday. Many of them are associated with the Summerland United Church, where she has been an active member for more than 60 years.
“This is my last home, so far,” she added with a smile.
She was born to Karl and Barbara Apenheimer. The family left Austria and settled in Lemberg, Sask. They lived in a two-room cabin with a clay fireplace and bare clay floor.
The household included two boys, seven girls, plus grandma and grandpa.
One girl child died as a baby.
The family escaped the 1918 Spanish flu epidemic, taking precautions such as staying away from those infected, keeping warm, eating garlic, wearing camphor sachets and sprinkling eucalpytus oil on hankies.
She went to college and later to Saskatchewan Normal School in Regina where she was trained to be a teacher. She taught first in Lemberg and then in Knoxville, Sask. The one-room school had 40 students in Grades 1 to 8.
In 1932 she taught at Lyndale, Sask. At Oungre, Sask., she taught Grades 1 to 7 and met her future husband, Bill Durick, who was teaching Grades 8 to 12.
He went to war in 1941. In 2003 he died at age 95.
The family came to the Okanagan in 1949, following daughter Diane who arrived here before her father went to war.
Caroline began a long career of volunteer work for the Girl Guides of Canada, the United Church and other church and community organizations.
President of the United Church Women, convenor of congregational dinners, decorator and planner of church bazaars, recording secretary and representative to the board of stewards were just some of the jobs she carried out.