Phyllis Perreaux celebrates her 90th birthday in Lake Cowichan

Well-known local senior Phyllis Perreaux celebrated her 90th birthday this year with family and friends at the Lake Cowichan Seniors Centre.

Local woman Phyllis Perreaux

Local woman Phyllis Perreaux

Well-known local senior Phyllis Perreaux celebrated her 90th birthday this year with family and friends at the Lake Cowichan Seniors Centre.

Although she’s called Lake Cowichan her home since 1940, don’t think that means she’s sticking around.

“I’ve lived her for long enough,” she said. “I want change… When I sell the house; hopefully before another winter.”

Perreaux said that her time in Lake Cowichan has been excellent experience, accompanied by equally excellent people.

She moved to town from Saskatchewan in 1940, to elope with her husband, Henry.

Henry was a Catholic, so Phyllis’s Protestant mother didn’t approve of them getting married.

“I always say we ran away,” Perreaux said, with a laugh.

They arrived in November of 1940, by train to Duncan, and then by bus to Lake Cowichan.  Perreaux’s older sister, Lena, and brother, Gordon, already lived in town.

Henry quickly found work in the logging industry.

“It was easy to get work,” Perreaux said. “The mills were running, then.”

Perreaux’s first job in town was that of a cleaner for Bill Wager, whose wife was ill.

She joined the Royal Purple in 1948, and has been a member since, becoming a life member in 1986.

In 1947, Phyllis and Henry purchased the house Phyllis still resides in, where they’ve raised three children; Dorreen, Sharon, and Jim.

Henry has since passed on.

During her time in Lake Cowichan, Perreaux said that most everything has changed.

“Things have changed. We didn’t have electricity until 1947,” she said.

The road out to Duncan was little more than a cow path, she said, and aside from houses, there were only two stores in town, a post office, and schools.

Perreaux celebrated her 90th birthday a day after she turned nine decades young, at the Lake Cowichan Seniors Centre, Saturday, January 22. A pot luck dinner was held in her honour.

During the party, 11 out of her 15 great grandchildren were in attendance, as well as her sister from Alberta, and many others.

Woodwards (Perreaux’s maiden name) stick around, she said. Her brother is well into his 90s, and her sister, Lillian, is 101.

She grew up with 10 siblings; hard-working hired hands for her family’s Saskatchewan farm.

Perreaux said that she’ll miss Lake Cowichan, but looks forward to starting something new in Duncan

There are more services and activities for seniors to take part in, she said.

– With notes from Family Trees: The Growth of a Forest Community