Lacombe resident Maggie (Roth) Stone recently celebrated an amazing milestone – her 100th birthday – surrounded by friends and family.
The very special occasion brought together many friends and members of the family, said her daughter Betty Cruickshank, who also lives in Lacombe. “It was a lovely afternoon,” she said, adding there were refreshments and of course birthday cake to mark the event.
Stone was born Aug. 9th, in a small southern Alberta community between Foremost and Bow Island. The family later relocated to Haynes.
“We rented a farm there, and lived there for about six years,” she recalled. Eventually, desiring to be near a bigger community, the family settled just west of Red Deer. “That’s where I grew up.”
Maggie also noted with a laugh that her dad would be pleased to know the farm is finally making money because there is a casino located on the site today.
She had planned to be a teacher, but when her sister-in-law passed away suddenly, she headed back to Haynes to help her brother with his children. It was during this time that she met her future husband – David Stone.
David lived south of Alix at the time, and the couple eventually married Oct. 26th, 1936. They farmed southwest of Alix and raised their family – which included Betty, Harriet (Stone), Norman Stone and the late Rosalie Szuch.
The family farmed the land for 40 years.
“Mom and dad later moved to Alix when my brother took over the farm,” explained Betty, adding her father passed away 19 years ago. Maggie stayed in Alix for a couple of years following her husband’s passing before ultimately moving to Lacombe.
Here, she has found a friendly and comfortable community at the Lacombe Seniors Lodge. It’s also been a delight seeing her family grow so much over the years.
Today, she has 13 grandchildren and 20 great-grandchildren.
In chatting about their mom, both Harriet and Betty talk about her strong work ethic and her never fading commitment to family – and also of how hospitable their folks were in general over the years in whichever community they called home.
They also chuckled describing how sharp Maggie’s memory indeed can be.
“Mom is really good about remembering things from the past – the other day, we were talking about this song that she used to sing about Henry Ford, and when ‘Henry made a lady out of Lizzie’,” said Betty, referring to a tune entitled Henry’s Made a Lady Out of Lizzie which was written by Walter O’Keefe back in the 1920s.
The song is about Ford’s ‘Model A’ – described as a stylish car that that replaced the outdated ‘Tin Lizzie’ – the Model T.
“Thanks to the wonderful Internet my sister looked it up, we got a copy of the recording of the song. And there is was – this song from 1926!”
As to any secrets to living a long life, Maggie laughs and said that ultimately, she’s lived pretty much as normal a life as one could.
But her daughters added that, as mentioned, their mother worked hard during those farm years and has always kept busy, active and engaged. Plus, even in her retirement years, she would take lengthy walks in Alix which helped her stay in good shape, too.
For the lovely Maggie, one gets the feeling there is a quiet sense of peace and also a genuine warmth that she extends to visitors and friends alike. And as for managing the stresses of day-to-day life – her advice is simple.
“Never be surprised at what happens because there are many things that can happen to you that you don’t expect.”
Betty pointed out that her mom has a very strong faith as well – no doubt a foundation that has provided strength and grace over the years as well. Plus her kids weren’t too much of a concern during those growing up years, Harriet added with a wink. “We never caused her a moment’s worry,” she said with a gentle laugh.
Both daughters also point out that their mom and dad, despite some financial challenges in the very early years of their marriage, still made sure that the kids had fun activities like music lessons and various community activities to take part in. They indeed made their house a home.
“They sacrificed a lot,” said Betty. “And I remember how mom always worked to make the house and yard attractive – she always tried to make things ‘homey.’”
Plus, as indicated earlier, there was always an emphasis on sharing as well – a practice that has indeed made a lasting impact on many lives.
‘There were always people coming to visit – coming for coffee, coming for dinner, coming to stay overnight.”