The Cowichan Lake community celebrated a unique milestone last Friday, with the 100th birthday of Frank Caron.
The Lake Cowichan Seniors’ Centre was packed with well-wishers, Friday, June 3, for a luncheon celebrating the long life of Caron.
“Thank you very much,” he told the crowd, after being sung Happy Birthday. “May God bless each and every one of you.”
Although Caron has been retired since the 1960s, he’s lived a very busy life so far, in many communities.
Born in Quebec in 1911, his family moved to Montana when he was three, where his dad worked at a ranch. The family later moved to northern Saskatchewan, where he worked with horses, and later in a general store.
An interesting story Caron has about his time working at the general store was that he had to carry a rifle with him when he made big deposits at the bank.
Life wasn’t always easy for Caron. The 1918 Spanish Flu killed his mother, resulting in a young Caron finding himself in foster care. While in foster care, he lost his birth name of Joseph Leon Xavier Caron, with overseers opting for the easier, shorter name of Frank Caron.
Frank managed well, all things considered, and went on to become a mechanic with Ford, working on some of Ford’s earliest models, including the Model A, B, and C.
He continued with Ford until his retirement.
In 1949, Caron got his Alberta mechanic papers, in 1953 his Saskatchewan papers, and then in 1964 his British Columbia papers.
Caron’s wife, Anne, died in 1985. They married in Meadow Lake, Saskatchewan, in 1943.
The centenarian has lived in a lot of communities over the years – most recently Prince George, where he stayed until family brought him to Lake Cowichan about seven years ago.
Former Lake Cowichan Seniors’ Centre manager Frank Hornbrook remembers seeing the very active Caron walk to the Seniors’ Centre all the way from Elk Road.
“He’s always been such a pleasure to meet and greet at the centre,” Hornbrook said. “Everybody’s enjoyed meeting him.”
Retirement hasn’t slowed Caron down too much, as he’s gone on a few noteworthy trips, including one five years ago when he went to Disney Land.