Edward Ewen of Abbotsford celebrates his 100th birthday on June 27.
A celebration in his honour will be held at his residence Oxford Home on June 26, with a parade and bagpipes outside on the boulevard.
Ed was born in 1921 in Beverley, Yorkshire, England. He served in the British Army in the Second World War and was stationed in India during his service until the war ended.
He married in 1944 and had two sons. The family emigrated to Canada in 1952, arriving in Halifax, Nova Scotia on the Queen Mary.
The family travelled across Canada by train and settled in B.C., where they had a third son in 1953. Ed’s wife Mary passed away in November 1954, leaving him as a single parent to his three young sons, who he raised with the help of friends.
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Ed met Serena (Siska) Zomar – a widow with two daughters and a son – at a church social in August 1957. They married Nov. 28, 1957 and had two sons, which brought their blended family to 10 (six sons and two daughters).
Ed was skilled in the masonry trade in England and joined the International Bricklayers Union in B.C. He was seen as one of the top tradesmen, participating in the building of many Vancouver high rises and brick churches as well as many brick buildings on the University of B.C. grounds.
Many of his fellow bricklayers were Italians, and Ed learned the art of making wine at home. Some of his children enjoyed the crushing of grapes with their bare feet in the large wine barrels on the weekends.
His family says he made the best of their blended family and knew how to “live life to the max.” They grew vegetables and raised chickens in the backyard.
Ed was also an avid bird lover and learned from his father the fine art of aviaries. He raised many canaries and budgies.
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The family enjoyed many outings with relatives and camping and fishing at the local lakes.
Ed and Serena also had many adventures abroad travelling to Europe and the United Kingdom.
Serena passed away in 2006 and Ed remained in their home (with family nearby) until December 2018. He has 17 grandchildren, 21 great-grandchildren, and two great-great-grandchildren.
Ed now resides in The Oxford Seniors’ Living Home in Abbotsford. He enjoys walks with the aid of his walking stick and walker, and enjoys social activities and trivia games.
As a war veteran, Ed participated in Remembrance Day services in Abbotsford until 2019. Services were celebrated in 2020 at The Oxford, where several veterans reside.
Edward Ewen in the early 1940s. (Inset) Ewen of Abbotsford celebrates his 100th birthday on June 27.