Over the past century, Clarence Cardin has served his country in war, worked many different jobs and enjoyed a retirement filled with fishing and family.
Most importantly, he’s been a husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather. All of this was celebrated Saturday, Jan. 17 when Clarence’s family gathered at the Lodge on 4th in Ladysmith for his 100th birthday.
Clarence was born in Wawota, a small town in southeastern Saskatchewan. When the Second World War broke out, he was shipped off to England, and he served with the Canadian Army in Ortona, Italy.
Clarence met his wife, Vera, while he was serving overseas, and they married Sept. 15, 1942, in England. Clarence and Vera were married 72 years until she passed away in late November at the age of 93.
After the war, Vera became very involved in the Canadian War Brides Association, which put on many dances, explained Clarence’s son, Gene.
“Dad loved dancing,” he said. “He was dancing at our wedding 10 years ago.”
Over the years, Clarence had many different jobs. He worked with horses in northern Ontario, stooked wheat by hand in the Prairies and much more.
“He’s had a full life,” said Gene. “Dad was a good story teller. We grew up with that.”
Clarence’s son Trevor recalls that Clarence’s father used to run a livery stable, so Clarence was good with horses.
“Dad did some horse logging in Quebec,” he said, “They liked dad because he was good with horses, and he was able to maneuver the logs.”
Clarence ended up in Victoria, and when he first arrived, he started an apprenticeship to be a shoemaker. Trevor says his father found shoemaking wasn’t his calling, and he became a custodian at the Provincial Normal School in Victoria. Clarence moved on from that and got his stationary engineer certificate. He worked at the Legislature and worked at the old Wilkinson Road jail for 30-odd years until he retired.
“He loved his fishing,” said Gene. “When he retired, we had a cabin in Sooke. We loved fishing with dad.”
Like Gene, Trevor thinks of his dad as a good story teller.
“There weren’t a lot of hills in Saskatchewan, but he told us stories that they used to sleigh down this hill behind his house,” he said.
As Clarence celebrated his 100th birthday Saturday, he was surrounded by his two sons, his granddaughters, Diane Cardin and Janine Wauthy, and his great-grandsons, Matthew and Isaac Wauthy, and many more family members, who shared stories about him and made sure to get their photo taken with the man of the hour.
“He’s been a great dad, I’ll tell you,” Trevor said as he lead the group in a toast to his father.