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PHOTOS: Only one Fab Senior could win…

But there were more than a dozen worthy seniors who were entered in the photo contest
Myrna Norman has earned countless accolades for her advocacy work around living with dementia. She is a twice published author and sits on too many different committees, task groups, expert groups, etc. to name. Living with dementia herself, she also leads the local Purple Angels support group in Maple Ridge. Her name and photo were entered in the Fab Senior contest by Marissa Stalman. (Special to The News)

There’s no slowing Dave Koehn, an 80-year-old who can frequently be spotted caring for his six-acre hobby farm in Webster’s Corners.

Turns out he was entered into this year’s Fab Senior in the Maple Ridge Pitt Meadows Katzie Seniors Network photo contest, unbeknownst to him, by his daughter Leanne Koehn. Turns out he won.

CALL FOR ENTRIES: Photos of Fabulous seniors wanted for contest

The contest ran during B.C. Seniors Week, and there were more than a dozen local entries, and many great contenders, said coordinator Heather Treleaven.

But it was a picture of Koehn, who was one of the founders of the Ridge Meadows Recycling Society, who was selected as the winner of a $150 gift certificate to businesses in Downtown Maple Ridge.

Treleaven congratulated Dave, who she said, “is in fact, a Fabulous Senior in our community.”

FABULOUS 2020: 92 years young and Pitt Meadows widower going strong


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At 87, Gladys Kennedy is pictured getting her second vaccine recently. Her daughter Debbie submitted Gladys name and picture for the Fab Seniors photo contest, describing her mother as one of the strongest, most resilient people she knows. Calling her “amazing,” she explained that Gladys has been a Maple Ridge resident since 1965 and many will recognize her as the manager of the lunch counter at McLure’s for many, many years. After being isolated for more than a year, Gladys is anxious to get back to her bowling league, her birthday club with friends, and her community dinners. (Special to The News)
“I would like to celebrate my grandmother, Ruth Sapinsky, who passed away March 4 at 97 years old,” said Bobbi Browne, in submitting her entry for the Fab Seniors photo contest. Sapinsky lived and served her community in Herbert, Sask. for 87 years of her life, living out her last 10 in a home in Steinbach, Man. “When my mother (her daughter) was killed in a pedestrian accident when I was 13, my grandmother became my mom, grandmother, friend, and mentor for the rest of her years. I always felt safe with her. She devoted herself to me and the rest of our family, and really loved unconditionally,” Browne shared, offering to donate the photo contest prize back to seniors in the community if she’d won. (Special to The News)
Lest We Forget. This picture hangs prominently in the Guedes home, a photo depicting Richard (Dick) Guedes during the Remembrance Day service in 2009. The photograph was entered into the Fab Seniors photo contest by his bride of 64 years, Mary Alice (Johnnie), who described it as her favourite picture of her husband. Dick Guedes served in the RCA for 10 years during the Cold War, 1956 to 1966. (Kat Arnett/Black Press Media files)
For some, it might seem like tinkering. For 92-year-old Ken Wood his hours of toiling in the workshop are a way to connect more with his grand children and great grandchildren. His daughter, Brooke Gilmore, entered Wood’s name and picture into the Fab Seniors photo contest saying: “Family is everything” to her father. Moving from Regina to Vancouver in 1942 with his parents and four brothers, Ken eventually began barbering with his dad on West 4th Avenue. After raising five children, he and his wife, Louise, moved to Coquitlam and then to The Colonial in Maple Ridge in 1989. “There he found a new hobby, playing in the workshop. He has built furniture for his kids, Christmas knickknacks for the ladies at his bank and miniature kitchens for his granddaughter’s play spaces.” After Louise passed away, the widower moved into a suite in his youngest daughter’s house, where the garage was converted into a small wood shop so he could continue his hobby. “Now, at 92, and with several great-grandchildren, there is lots of work to do! To date, he has made 18 perfectly sized tables and chairs for those little ones to host tea parties with Papa!” (Special to The News)
Christa Keeley’s door is always open for coffee, cake, and a chat, Caroline Cottan said of her Oma when entering her name and picture into the Fab Seniors photo contest during Seniors Week. After patiently waiting for COVID-19 restrictions to be lifted, Keeley, 86, is catching up on lost time with her new great-granddaughter Stella (above). (Special to The News)
Erin Altwasser’s mother-in-law has touched her life and the life of so many others through all her years in Maple Ridge. Fay Altwasser is well known in town for a variety of reasons, Erin said, pointing to the fact she was head nurse for many doctors for 30 years. Even though she’s retired, she still continues to help out at her old doctors office whenever needed. She also tends to keep her nursing abilities active within her seniors complex, caring for and treating many smaller injuries for her neighbours. “She is 82 years young and full of life, smiles, and love for anyone she meets,” Erin said. “She is a blessing to anyone who meets her, and I believe she deserves recognition for this!” (Special to The News)
Helen Brown just turned 99 years old on March 14. Currently residing at St. Michael’s Centre in Burnaby and “doing exceptionally well,” Brown received Burnaby’s citizen of the year award in 1992 and similarly received an award for outstanding community service. Brown is a mother of six, who her daughter Patricia Tochkin, of Pitt Meadows, describes as an “excellent mother” for many so reasons including her positive attitude. “Mom tested positive for COVID on Dec. 23, but had very little symptoms other than needed oxygen for a couple of days and loss of appetite. She fully recovered and we had many window visits and patio visits,” recounted Tochkin, who is now vaccinated and able to visit her mother at her long-term care home every day. “She is an amazing woman, and thanks us profusely for visiting her daily and the manicures I give her, and the special lunches we bring for her.” Brown’s favourite sayings are “Don’t forget to stop and smell the roses!” and “Keep on smiling!” and she does, as can be seen when she was feeding a squirrel some nuts on the patio of her care home just the other day. (Special to The News)
Dave Koehn, 80, is still actively caring for their Webster’s Corners’ hobby farm. He’s seen driving his electric tractor with a bunch of ferns, huckleberry, and other plants he “rescued” from a section of bushes on the property where he’s creating a new trail. He plans to relocate the native plants, explained his daughter, Leanne, who entered his name and photo into the 2021 Fab Seniors photo contest. Turns out Dave was the winner of the contest. (Special to The News)
Dave Koehn, 80, is still actively caring for their Webster’s Corners’ hobby farm. He’s seen driving his electric tractor with a bunch of ferns, huckleberry, and other plants he “rescued” from a section of bushes on the property where he’s creating a new trail. He plans to relocate the native plants, explained his daughter, Leanne, who entered his name and photo into the 2021 Fab Seniors photo contest. Turns out Dave was the winner of the contest. (Special to The News)
Noreen Wiebe submitted a picture of her mother, Freda Kropp, into the Fab Seniors photo contest this year. “I think she looks fantastic for being 96,” Wiebe said. (Special to The News)
Early childhood educator Lori Skinner entered the name and photo of Barb Vickers, from Maple Ridge, into the Fab Seniors photo contest. When she saw the call to pay tribute to a senior who has touched your heart, she instantly thought of her neighbour, affectionately known as Mrs. Barb. “She often visits and chats with our daycare friends. This particular day she was trimming her roses and one of the children asked for one. She graciously continued to trim until every child had one of their own to keep. She and her husband have painted many small animals, birds, rocks, and butterflies to decorate their property and our shared fence for the children to enjoy. Mr. Jerry and Mrs. Barb are blessings to our world,” Skinner said. (Special to The News)
Thea Hogan turned 100 on April 16 of this year. Lynda Summers entered her name and photograph in the Fab Seniors photo contest, describing her as a “wonderful senior in our lives.” (Special to The News)

Roxanne Hooper

About the Author: Roxanne Hooper

I began in the news industry at age 15, but honestly, I knew I wanted to be a community journalist even before that.
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