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‘Dancing, singing and wine,’ Vernon woman’s secret to reaching 100

Clara Grootveld’s key to longevity boiled down to line dancing, sipping wine and singing out tunes

According to Clara Grootveld, the key to living until you are 100 is quite simple.

“Singing, dancing and wine,” she told The Morning Star, at her centenarian birthday bash at the Schubert Centre Monday, March 18.

She was celebrated with a cake, music and plenty of line dancing, an activity which Grootveld taught for over 30 years.

“Clara taught Mondays and I taught Thursdays,” said her friend Josie Brown. “We were very active in the Schubert Centre and we volunteered at luncheons, washing dishes, pancakes for Sunday morning.”

“I danced for about 20 years with Clara and Josie,” said another friend, Silvia Shewchuk. “We celebrated birthdays and things like that and then we got reacquainted dancing, being social and having a connection. She was always a loving and caring person.”

Born on March 18, 1924 in Wiarton, Ont., Grootveld moved to Calgary in 1957, where she met her husband. After working for the Hudson’s Bay Company for 25 years, early retirement called her name in 1982, when she subsequently settled in Vernon.

Along with line dancing, Grootveld enjoyed exercise classes, curling, cross country skiing, knitting and crocheting.

She now lives in the Gateby Care Facility, and had kept her activity level high until recently, when a foot infection confined her to a wheelchair. She was also diagnosed with COVID-19 just six weeks ago. However, her one wish was to celebrate her 100th.

“She told me, I will get over this and I will be at my birthday,” said Jennifer, another good friend of hers. “She has a strong spirit.”

As Grootveld sipped red wine (she changes to white in the winter months) with her fresh new purple nail polish, her happiness of reaching the milestone was palpable.

“Just keep singing and dancing,” she said.

READ MORE: ‘I’m so fortunate’: Penticton’s Mae Smith celebrates 100th birthday

READ MORE: ‘I’m strong and I’m happy,’ says Vernon woman on her 100th birthday

Bowen Assman

About the Author: Bowen Assman

I joined The Morning Star team in January 2023 as a reporter. Before that, I spent 10 months covering sports in Kelowna.
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