Mabel Hughes with her children, Bill and Mary. Mary will be 105 years of age on Oct. 25, 2020. (family photo)

Mabel Hughes with her children, Bill and Mary. Mary will be 105 years of age on Oct. 25, 2020. (family photo)

Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25, 2020

UPDATE: Mary passed away Dec. 18, 2020

[Shortly before her 105th birthday on Oct. 25, 2020, Mary was admitted to hospital with a blood infection, according to her obituary. While she was able to return home, the woman who had lived during two global pandemics and so many other key moments of history remained frail. She passed away Dec. 18, 2020.]

Mary Foote (nee Hughes) and her brother, Bill, and sister Elizabeth used to walk to school but it was no ordinary trek.

Back in the 1920s, the children ran a trap-line on the way to and from school in a rural community. They gathered up enough pelts on those walks to buy the family its first radio at a cost of $132.

The family was living in a remote area near Fort George at the time. Mary was born Oct. 25, 1915, at Moore’s Meadow near what is now Prince George but was then called Fort George.

Mary, a Langley City resident, is about to turn 105.

The Hughes family moved from that area to the Mud River Valley from 1919 to 1929. In 1934, they landed in Wells/Barkerville where Mary helped run a general store, C.H. Hughes & Son, selling supplies to the miners of Barkerville. She still has the gold scales she used accepting gold dust and nuggets as payment.

It’s also where she met and married Bill Davies. When the Cariboo Gold Quarts and Island Mountain mines became depleted and miners left the area, Mary and Bill moved to Aldergrove where they farmed for many years until Bill’s passing in 1966. The farm was across the road from the naval base in Aldergrove.

“We used to sell eggs and some milk because we were shipping them as part of our living,” she explained.

They had cattle and chickens with the dairy cows their main source of support. Farm life is all about hard work.

“You don’t miss that, I’ll tell ya,” Foote said.

She recalled what the place was like when they first arrived.

“When we bought the place, it didn’t have very much land cleared so that was one of the things, when we had nothing else to do, we’d chop down the extra trees and make room for gardens,” she said. “… It was an interesting life anyway, if nothing else.”

Mary was very involved with the Aldergrove United Church, Royal Purple, and daughter’s (Edith’s) school life and activities. Mary sold the farm in 1967 and moved to White Rock to care for her mother.

In 1972 she married Darrel Foote, and they retired to Qualicum. Then in 1995, she moved back to Langley to be closer to her children and their children and their children.

Today, Mary can look back over a lifetime.

It’s that life full of hard work that played a key role in her reaching that milestone but that’s not the only factor, she figured.

“Well, I guess I just have lived a good healthy life,” she said. “Had a lot of good luck.”

Her daughter, Edith Olson, recalled her mother had a unique snack for part of her adult life – vodka-soaked raisins.

“I don’t think it did me any harm,” chuckled Mary.

While too young at age three to remember the Spanish Flu global pandemic, she has some thoughts on what the world is going through in 2020 when asked about what she thinks may happen in the future.

“Goodness knows, eh. Mind you medicine is pretty good right now. You wonder if we’ll survive,” she commented.

She was able to live with her daughter for the first four months of the pandemic but is now back home in her Langley City complex, living isolated from the outside world but enjoying the activities and opportunities within the complex.

COVID-19 hasn’t stopped her from still wanting to help others. For a fifth year in a row, Mary was the oldest Canadian Gutsy Walk participant. Crohn’s & Colitis Canada held a virtual walk Aug. 23. Mary’s walk was in front of Evergreen Timbers where she lives, with residents cheering her on from their balconies. Her walker was decorated with balloons and the Crohn’s & Colitis flag. Edith, and son in-law Clarence walked with her all wearing their Team TP shirts.

Mary, born in the era of the horse and buggy, now sees the youngest members of her family surrounded by technology, a stark contrast to the childhood she experienced.

“It’s pretty wonderful, you know,” she said. “The kids have good things to look forward to in this life, don’t they.”

She said kids in her youth didn’t have many toys.

“We made up our own fun, so to speak. We lived not far from a river so through the summer we used to do a lot of swimming,” Mary said. “…It was a happy time in our lives.”

.


Got a news tip?

Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

LangleySeniors

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Mary Foote’s family has a photo of her taken more than a century ago. (family photo)
Mary Foote’s family has a photo of her taken more than a century ago. (family photo)

Mary Foote’s family has a photo of her taken more than a century ago. (family photo) Mary Foote’s family has a photo of her taken more than a century ago. (family photo)

Mary (Hughes) Foote with her parents and siblings a century ago. She’s standing in front of her father. (family photo)

Mary (Hughes) Foote with her parents and siblings a century ago. She’s standing in front of her father. (family photo)

Mary Foote as a small child. (family photo)

Mary Foote as a small child. (family photo)

Mary Foote grew up on a farm near Prince George and later farmed with her husband in Aldergrove. (family photo)

Mary Hughes. (family photo)

Mary Hughes. (family photo)

Mary (back right) and her siblings and cousins were photographed with their grandfather when he visited from Wales in the 1920s. (family photo)

Mary (back right) and her siblings and cousins were photographed with their grandfather when he visited from Wales in the 1920s. (family photo)

Bill and Mary Hughes grew up in the B.C. Interior. (family photo)

Bill and Mary Hughes grew up in the B.C. Interior. (family photo)

Bill and Mary Davies. (family photo)

Bill and Mary Davies. (family photo)

Mary Foote was born in 1915. (family photo)

Mary Foote was born in 1915. (family photo)

Mary and Bill Davies with their niece and nephew at White Rock. (family photo)

Mary and Bill Davies with their niece and nephew at White Rock. (family photo)

Elizabeth and Mary with their mother Mabel. (family photo)

Elizabeth and Mary with their mother Mabel. (family photo)

Mary Foote returned to the schoolyard of her youth in the 1980s. (family photo)

Mary Foote returned to the schoolyard of her youth in the 1980s. (family photo)

Mary Foote on her 85th birthday. (family photo)

Mary Foote on her 85th birthday. (family photo)

Mary Foote was born Mary Hughes. A plaque honouring the Hughes family is installed near their homestead.

Mary Foote was born Mary Hughes. A plaque honouring the Hughes family is installed near their homestead.

Mary Foote in April 2020 with her stuffed Corgi, a Welsh breed. Her family is Welsh. (family photo)

Mary Foote in April 2020 with her stuffed Corgi, a Welsh breed. Her family is Welsh. (family photo)

Edith Olson with her mother, Mary Foote, as Mary celebrated her 100th birthday. (Enchanted Memories Photography)

Edith Olson with her mother, Mary Foote, as Mary celebrated her 100th birthday. (Enchanted Memories Photography)

Mary Foote returned to Moore’s Meadow for a commemmoration. (family photo)

Mary Foote returned to Moore’s Meadow for a commemmoration. (family photo)

Mary Foote returned to Moore’s Meadow for a commemmoration. (family photo)

Mary Foote returned to Moore’s Meadow for a commemmoration. (family photo)

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)

Mary Foote (right) took part in the Gutsy Walk in August 2020 at the age of 104. She was joined by son in-law Clarence and daughter Edith Olson. (family photo)

Just Posted

Wes Barker, second from left, with fellow Big Trick Energy show performers on “Ellen,” in video posted to youtube.com.
VIDEO: On ‘Ellen,’ former Langley man works magic with new ‘Big Trick Energy’ gang

A decade ago, Wes Barker quit his job with the City of Surrey to do magic professionally

Dr. Bonnie Henry gives her daily media briefing regarding Covid-19 for the province of British Columbia in Victoria, B.C, Monday, December 7, 2020.   THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
More Langley-area business closed due to COVID-19

Any business with three or more cases among employees can be closed

Vancouver Giants victorious over the Royals in Kamloops Thursday, April 15. The G-Men won, 4-0. (Allen Douglas/Special to Black Press Media)
VIDEO: Giants young goalie shutouts Victoria, 4-0

The Langley-based WHL team earn another victory over the Royals Thursday in Kamloops

Critter Care’s first ever 50/50 winner is Kim Madill, who took home $28,852.50. (Critter Care/Special to The Star)
Winner takes home $28,852.50 through Critter Care’s first virtual 50/50

Kim Madill instantly donated part of the funds to the Langley-based wildlife society

Minister of Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Marco Mendicino holds a press conference in Ottawa on Thursday, Nov. 12, 2020. The federal government is moving forward on efforts to help citizens of Hong Kong remain in Canada rather than have to return. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Painful Truth: Canada’s immigration hopes may not be enough in post-COVID world

In a world of declining birth rates and rising wealth, where do new Canadians come from?

Rainbow trouts thrashing with life as they’re about to be transferred to the largest lake of their lives, even though it’s pretty small. These rainbows have a blue tinge because they matched the blue of their hatchery pen, but soon they’ll take on the green-browns of their new home at Lookout Lake. (Zoe Ducklow/News Staff)
VIDEO: B.C. lake stocked with hatchery trout to delight of a seniors fishing club

The Cherish Trout Scouts made plans to come back fishing soon

Nick Warmerdam and his dog Diesel are inviting locals to check out the Lakeland Farm U-pick Flower Farm this spring. (Ben Lypka/Abbotsford News)
VIDEO & SLIDESHOW: Abbotsford’s Lakeland Flowers opens for spring

Tulip farm attraction opened on April 14, open to the public daily seven days a week

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

Royal Inland Hospital in Kamloops. (Dave Eagles/Kamloops This Week file photo)
RCMP intercept vehicle fleeing with infant taken from Kamloops hospital

The baby was at the hospital receiving life-saving care

The female driver of this Jeep Grand Cherokee (right) was driving erratically with a young child inside on Highway 1 eastbound. After hitting a barrier and a parked car, she finally exited the highway at Yale Road West and came to a stop. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Video captures woman driving erratically with child after hitting barrier, car on Hwy 1 in Chilliwack

Smoke seen coming from SUV as it continues to travel eastbound of shoulder of highway

Former Pitt Meadows city councillor David Murray was convicted of sex assault, and is now being sued by the victim. (files)
Former Pitt Meadows city councillor sued for sex assault

David Murray was convicted in 2017 of sexually assaulting a teen 25 years earlier

Vancouver Police Const. Deepak Sood is under review by the Independent Investigations Office of B.C. after making comments to a harm reduction advocate Sunday, April 11. (Screen grab)
VIDEO: Vancouver officer convicted of uttering threats under watchdog review again

Const. Deepak Sood was recorded Sunday saying ‘I’ll smack you’ and ‘go back to selling drugs’ to a harm reduction advocate

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry prepares a daily update on the coronavirus pandemic, April 21, 2020. (B.C. Government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection rate persists, 1,005 new cases Friday

Hospitalization up to 425, six more virus-related deaths

The Nautical Dog Cafe at Skaha marina is getting its patio ready in hopes Mother Nature will provide where provincial restrictions have taken away indoor dining. (Facebook)
‘A lot of instability’: B.C. restaurants in layoff limbo

As COVID-19 cases stay high, restaurants in British Columbia are closed to indoor dining

Most Read