Emelia Secen’s smile warms everyone around her.
She is famous for it, said Walter Secen, during his aunt’s 105th birthday party at the Woodlands of Sunset last week.
“She always had lots of friends and made friends easily,” he said. It is something Woodlands staff notice despite a language barrier.
Emilia can speak French and English, but is now most comfortable using her native Croatian.
Her secret for a long life is not working too hard, translated her nephew as she smiled.
Born in Croatia, Emelia came to Canada in 1934 settling in Val d’Or, Quebec, a mining town in the western part of the province.
With her husband Joseph, who went there as a prospector, she lived in Val d’Or for 50 years. They did not have any children.
She moved into an apartment in Welland in 1987 to be near her nephew and nieces, Walter, Wilma Secen Morog, and Josephine Secen Gojmerac, and their families.
Walter said she lived on her own until moving to Woodlands 10 years ago.
“Now she enjoys having other people make her meals” and do the chores, he said with a chuckle.
It is only in the past couple of years that Emelia has had to use a wheelchair, said Walter.
On behalf of the Town of Pelham, Mayor Dave Augustyn presented the smiling 105-year-old a framed certificate and bouquet of flowers.
Staff and residents gave gifts, cards and brought out a cake for the party in the reception area.