Fred Bardal heads a less than serious clan who gathered recently for this 100th birthday.

Langley man’s 100th birthday brings together family and friends

Fred Bardal is one of 12 children born to parents from Iceland who immigrated to Canada in the 1800s.

It’s fair to say Fred Bardal enjoys a party. He’s had two birthday parties in the past six months.

During the summer was his 99th and a half party, a reason for family and friends to get together for some fun with the 99-year-old resident of Renaissance Retirement Resort.

But Fred jokes that the real reason for the party was in case he didn’t make it to his true birthday, Dec. 17.

That’s when he turned 100.

And it was another reason to have a party with family and friends, held Dec. 3.

Doing the math on this centennarian – this is a man born in the middle of the Great War, which is what the First World War was called when people thought there was not possible way such a horrific event could ever happen again, until it did, fewer than 20 years later.

By the Second World War Fred was old enough to take part. He trained aviation navigators in Manitoba.

After the war, he came west and worked in sales for about two years.

“For a short time, I worked for the Hudson’s Bay Company,” he noted.

It was one of Fred’s brothers who suggested they buy a graphic arts business from the elderly owners. They would be involved in campaigns and promotions for Woodwards for many years, among other businesses. He retired after selling the business.

Fred’s first wife passed away several years ago. They had had one son, Rick who passed away several years ago, and one daughter, Judy who lives in Vernon. Fred now has four grandchildren and six great grandchildren.

Fred was the 10th of 12 children in the family.

He was born Fridrik Bardal to Halldor and Gudrun Bardal in Winnipeg on Dec. 17, 1916. His parents emigrated to Canada separately in the late 1800s. They met in Winnipeg and married in 1901. Halldor’s family chose the permanent surname of Bardal, to conform to the Western standard of naming.  Fred was only the second generation to carry the surname Bardal.

It was while Fred was retired and travelling with friends on a bus tour in China that he met Dorothy Paterson, a resident of Langley since about the 1970s. They continued their relationship back on Canadian soil, with Fred eventually commenting “By the way, did I say something about getting married a few years ago?”

Her answer had been yes to the first question and yes to this one. They married in 1996 and he moved to Langley. They lived in Brookswood until the move to the seniors residence in Willoughby a few years ago.

Doing the math, that’s marriage at about 80. It was a time when he was, despite retirement, still active. A longtime friend of Dal Richards and Bill Abernethy, Fred was a longtime member of the Gyro Club in Vancouver, a men’s fraternal group with a mandate to create foster friendship. He was also an avid traveller and a member of the Capilano Golf Club. He played the game into his mid-80s.

Knee replacements came along – the first one a decade ago and the second three years later but otherwise, Fred’s enjoyed good health. He admits he’s slowing down a bit now, part of the jokes he constantly slides into conversation.

So when the inevitable question about how he made it to 100 years of age, he retorts with levity.

“I lied,” he quipped.

But he’s also quick to point out that a key factor in his longevity is “that delightful woman” he said pointing to Dorothy.

“I met her and everything else just melted away,” he said.

What’s Dorothy’s take on why he’s made it to 100?

“Stubborness,” she chuckles.

Fred’s advice to younger folks wanting to make the milestone – “Just hang in there… and behave yourself.”

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