Former Tangent resident celebrates 103rd birthday

Five generations of Cécile Sylvestre’s family helped her celebrate her 103rd birthday Nov. 2 in McLennan. Sylvestre is seated in front.

Tom Henihan
South Peace News

Former Tangent resident, Cécile Sylvestre celebrated her 103rd birthday at Manoir du Lac in McLennan on Nov. 2.

Seated behind her birthday cake, the mother of 12 children, with 38 grandchildren, 64 great-grandchildren and 19 great-great grandchildren, enjoyed the birthday celebrations and was evidently pleased to be surrounded by five generations of family.

Born in Lac St. Jean, Quebec, Cécile arrived in the Peace River region around 1927, when her parents came west to homestead in the Eaglesham area.

Cécile, whose maiden name is Boivin, married Donat Sylvestre in 1937 and built a home in Tangent where they farmed and raised their 12 children.

Donat and Cécile had been married for 51 years when Donat died in 1992 but she continued to live in Tangent until her health began to decline.

While still relatively independent, Cécile became a resident at the Villa Beausejour in Falher. When unable to take care of herself, she moved to Manoir du Lac.

Of course, longevity is in the family as Cécile’s mother, who was born in 1897 died in 2000, just a few months shy of turning 103.

Offering more testimony of family longevity, 10 of her 16 siblings are still alive and two of Cécile’s sisters, both in their nineties, were seated beside her at the Nov. 2 celebration.

Of course, being blessed with a long life has its trials. Along with the death of her husband and six siblings, Cécile also lost two children, two grandchildren and one great-grandchild. One of her children and one grandchild were infants when they died.

When younger, she enjoyed sewing, cooking, and macramé. She loved music and singing and also enjoyed camping, fishing and berry picking with her family.

Cécile’s daughter Lynne says that the cornerstones of Cécile’s life have been her family and religious faith.

Cécile Sylvestre enjoying her 103rd birthday celebrations at Manoir du Lac.

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