Keith Gerow, born Wednesday, Dec. 20, 1919, will celebrate his 100th birthday this Christmas Eve surrounded by friends, family, and his wife of 72 years. (Cameron Thomson/Salmon Arm Observer)

Salmon Arm veteran turning 100, offers secret to 72-year marriage

Keith Gerow to celebrate a century on Dec. 24

Seven years after the Titanic sank and one year after the First World War ended, Keith Gerow was born near Grande Prairie, Alberta.

One-hundred years later on December 24, Gerow will be celebrating his birthday with friends, family, members of Legion Branch #62 and Patricia, his wife of 72 years.

Gerow and his two brothers grew up just south of Wembley, a town approximately 23 kilometres west of Grande Prairie. It was here he met Patricia who was a friend of his sister. In 1940, Gerow and his brother shipped off to England to join the war effort where they served as engineers, working in a transport unit supplying troops across the English Channel.

Read more: Historical Society branch works to preserve Summerland history

Read more: Wharf inextricably linked to Salmon Arm’s history

Gerow stayed in England for over two years before he was sent home, a few weeks before D-Day, after falling ill with pneumonia. While did he not see military action in Europe, Gerow bore witness to the 56 day bombardment on London – The Blitz. His brother continued to work in the transport unit and his third brother fought throughout Italy and France until the war’s end.

Soon after returning from England, Gerow and Patricia were married. When asked the secret behind his long-lasting relationship, he advised that disagreements should not be remembered long.

“That’s all you can do is the best you can. If you have any arguments, argue them out and get rid of them, forget about them. Live today, don’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow never comes. Today is the day we live,” he said.

Read more: Canada became home not only to war brides, but also to war grooms

Read more: Poppies from the First World War tour country as symbol of hope, resilience

“You’ve just got to learn as you go along and be compatible. If you have any differences you talk about them,” Patricia added.

Keith and Patricia attribute their long lives to maintaining an active lifestyle for as long as possible.

In the summer they often go on walks, but are less able to do so in the winter. When they were less hindered by walkers, the pair took several trips back to Europe and England, and have driven across the United States and visited Hawaii and Mexico.

Read more: Remembrance Day: In war and peace, two Okanagan women share a one hundred years of history

Read more: 98-year-old French spy to recount Second World War story in Okanagan

When they weren’t traveling they would be playing golf or square dancing, an activity they did together for 30 years.

“I think that’s what keeps you younger,” Patricia said. “There’s people that just sit back and don’t do anything when they get to be 50 years old.”

Looking back on a century of life lived, Keith marked the differences he has seen between 1919 and 2019.

“There sure have been a lot of changes. From the horse and buggy days to the fast airplanes and everything.”


@CameronJHT
Cameron.thomson@saobserver.net

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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

Just Posted

Sicamous RCMP catch driver going twice the speed limit

The car was impounded for seven days and the driver received a hefty fine

Transport truck driver walks away from crash where cab detaches from trailer

Driver won’t be charged regarding incident near Pritchard

About one-sixth of students in School District 83 choose to ‘restart’ June 1

Superintendent of schools expects numbers may increase as word of safety protocols spreads

WATCH: North Okanagan golf cart stolen, then returned

Homeowners have footage of two men taking the cart and then bringing it back

UBC announces downtown Kelowna campus

Construction not anticipated to begin for two years, due to zoning processes

Murder charge upgraded in George Floyd case, 3 other cops charged

Floyd’s family and protesters have repeatedly called for criminal charges against all four officers

As two B.C. offices see outbreaks, Dr. Henry warns tests don’t replace other measures

Physical distancing, PPE and sanitizing remain key to reduce COVID-19 spread

Flair Airlines adds Kelowna to new summer schedule

Flair will be delaying the launch of service into Ottawa and Atlantic Canada

Titanic fails to successfully cross Atlantic a second time

I can hold her in my two hands. She is tiny and… Continue reading

‘It’s in the looks people give’: Kelowna women use shared experiences to combat racism

Friday’s peaceful protest is in solidarity with the Black community in the U.S.

Osoyoos man arrested, charged with possession of child pornography

Shawn Barry Titus, 37, was arrested at a motel in Osoyoos on May 21

Most Read