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.
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.
“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.
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.”