Hatter surrounded by loved ones for 104th birthday

·2 min read

Susie Richter of Medicine Hat celebrated a milestone this past weekend, when she turned 104 years old.

“The aids that work here, they all tell me, ‘You can’t be 104,'” Richter told the News. “(They think I’m) at the most 80.”

Richter, who was born on a Saskatchewan farm in 1917, was grateful for the outpouring of love family and friends showed on her birthday.

“She had so many phone calls, her phone went dead,” Richter’s daughter-in-law, Grace MacDougall, said.

Richter admits she doesn’t consider birthdays overly special, but says she liked the flowers and balloons she received.

“She thinks life is kind of a continuum,” Richter’s son, Doug MacDougall, said. “So she doesn’t think it’s as big a deal as everybody else.”

Richter has seen much over her lifetime; both in the world and in her personal life. Described as a hard worker, she has been employed in a variety of fields and locations across the country. She worked at one of Canada’s first potato chip factories, was once employed as a housemaid and child minder and has worked as a seamstress, sewing both wedding dresses and parachutes for Canadian soldiers.

In her spare time, Richter likes to read and connect with others.

“She’s an encourager,” said Grace. “(She) goes into the dining hall and she looks for the people that are maybe a little less-active or less able and she befriends them. That’s how she’s always been.”

Doug explained Richter has always provided support to those in need. Richter had two children of her own, but later in life adopted two more. She also regularly accepted student boarders, some coming from as far away as India and Hong Kong.

Even now, Richter encourages people to extend their hearts to those around them. Her advice to individuals younger than herself is simple.

“Be kind and gentle. Show (people) love … Live for God,” she said.

Deeply devoted to her faith, Richter says she isn’t afraid of what the future holds for her.

“When I think of still being here, in spite of (everything I’ve experienced), it’s God that wants me here for a purpose. Otherwise, I wouldn’t be here,” she said.

KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News

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