Just a few days shy of 100, Susanna Larsen is still sharp as the second COVID-19 vaccine needle she eagerly awaits just so she can get out and go to the hairdresser.
“Her mind’s better than mine,” daughter Angela Arscott said.
Larsen celebrates her milestone birthday Sunday, May 16, 2021.
She still lives on her own in her townhouse and is a mother of three, grandmother to seven, great-grandmother to 12 kids and has one great-great-grandchild.
Sadly, there won’t be any big party for Larsen (formerly Klippert) due to the pandemic restrictions.
“It’s been over a year since I’ve seen her and we can’t have a celebration,” said Arscott, who lives in the Lower Mainland. “But we’ll do it later when things open up.”
While a party would be nice, Larsen is just dying to get to the hairdresser.
“I just can’t stand it,” Larsen told her daughter recently.
Born in Eatonia, Sask., Susanna Maria is the third oldest of eight children to immigrant parents. She still has three living sisters, whom she has regular phone calls.
Susan, as she is more commonly called, started work at the age of 14 as a housekeeper and farmhand. She came to Vernon at the age of 16 for the summer and worked as a housekeeper, in the packing house and in the field picking tomatoes.
Back home she met her first husband, Herman Klippert, at age 18 and they were married one year later in 1940.
They had three children, Jerry, Wayne and Angela, who they moved from Leader, Sask., to Lavington in 1954 and then later to Vernon.
They owned many rental properties which she would paint the interior with a brush and using oil paint. She also provided room and board for a number of people.
After 30 years of marriage, Klippert died in 1971.
But a second shot at love came her way and she married Erik Larsen in 1989. He passed away in 1995.
She moved from the home she shared with Larsen into a townhouse in 2006, where she still lives.
Larsen has been involved in women’s groups, choir and Bible study at her church and also enjoys sewing, knitting, crocheting, embroidery, painting and gardening flowers and vegetables.
Aside from the Bible, the local newspaper is her favourite thing to read.
“She never misses reading the Morning Star from cover to cover,” Arscott said.
She drove her car until the age of 95 when she voluntarily surrendered her licence.
“She was a hard worker. Lives a happy contented life. Her life was simple and she feels fulfilled,” said Arscott, adding that she is a strong-willed, determined, independent, loving and compassionate woman and mother.
The 99-year-old has lived a healthy life despite a few recent falls which have subsequently left her relying on a walker.
Her secret to 100 is living a healthy and happy life with kindness to others, as well a strong faith in God – she reads her Bible and prays every day.