Longevity runs in family for 104-year-old

Anne came into the world on March 13, 1910, sharing the same birthday as her father, Karl Larson.

She has shared more throughout her life with her dad than just the date of her birth.

She shares his optimistic outlook and easy-going manner.

It just may be one of the reasons she’s still active and jovial at the century mark.

Born on a farm in Percival, Sask., Anne came from a family of four children. The eldest of the four left school just into her teens, and started working for families, caring for seniors and people with health problems.

Health problems would also come to her doorstep.

“We were all sick with the [Spanish] flu in 1918,” she said of her six-member family.

Anne would work for families in Saskatchewan as well as B.C.

“I came out here in 1936, July 1936,” she said. “My brother was already out here.”

Elin, accompanied her then 26-year-old daughter Anne to B.C. on the only vacation of Elin’s life.

It was in the Lower Mainland that Anne met a man, George Harvey. Then she was asked by a friend to work for a family in Trail, so off Anne went for three years.

Work brought her back to Vancouver, where she would again cross paths with George.

“We dated and we got married in 1941, May 21,” she said.

George could turn his hand to many things – logger, welder, mechanic, and more – but he also had wanderlust, so the family (they welcomed daughter Lois in 1942) moved quite a bit. Anne said they’ve lived in Ocean Falls, White Rock, Vancouver, Burnaby, Haney, Coquitlam, Port McNeill more than once, and New Westminster.

“It’s a logger’s life,” Anne commented wistfully.

They then headed inland to Penticton, but after several months decided to come back to the Coast, moving their mobile home to 200th Street and 30th Avenue, a place known as Farmer Jones (now Cedar Creek Mobile Home Park).

“I think it cost us $148,” she said about moving the trailer from the Okanagan.

She recalled that the road [200th Street] was so narrow that the trailer move had to wait until late because of the interruption of traffic.

The Harveys set up in Langley in 1970 and lived in the trailer for 37 years. Anne lost her George in 1989. The man who had a lifetime of hard work succumbed to Parkinson’s Disease.In autumn of 2007, Anna gave up the mobile home and moved to Langley Seniors’ Village.

Harvey has seen incredible technological changes in her century.

“When I was a kid, we didn’t even have a telephone,” Harvey noted.

And when colour TVs came out, George wanted one, making theirs a popular place to be: “The neighbour kids used to come over to see the colour TV.”

But she draws the line at computers.

“That’s something I haven’t felt I have time for,” she said.

Most seniors bemoan the lack of visits from family. For Anne Harvey, it’s more about finding time in her busy schedule. She’s always been active, and now her fancies include the activities at the seniors complex, bus trips with neighbours, knitting, crafts, shopping, and some favourite TV-viewing.

“I love sports,” she said.

George got her started watching sports.

“Of course I follow the Canucks,” Harvey said. “I’ve been following them for years.”

A curler in her younger years, she now enjoys watching it on TV.

Even a mini-stroke around 2003 only temporarily put the brakes on: she used knitting to regain dexterity in her hand.

She takes part in the seniors centre’s exercises five days a week, possible thanks to good genes from both sides of the family, she said. Her sister just turned 96 and her brother survived to 92, and her dad, always smiling and upbeat, lived to 96.

So what does she think is the secret to a long life?

“I guess keeping busy,” she said.

UPDATE 2014: A broken femur landed Anne in hospital for three months, one of three hospital stays since turning 100, but the quick smile and upbeat attitude are always there.

Her most recent passion was watching the Olympic Winter Games and sports remains her joy.

A couple of days before her celebration, Anne was taken to Vancouver for the 100th birthday of her sister, Ida.

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