We all hope that our loved ones can live a long, healthy, prosperous life filled with love and happiness. Cecile Boivin Sylvestre has succeeded in accomplishing all those goals and is set to embark on her 106th trip around the sun. As one of the longest living Albertans in history, Sylvestre’s daughter Annette Bourassa, of Falher, was hoping to pay tribute to her mom, whose life spans across two centuries. “Mom was born in the Lac St. Jean district in Quebec on Nov. 5, 1916,” says Bourassa. “She was 13 when her parents decided to move to Alberta.” Bourassa says her mom’s parents moved to the province with 12 children, but they added five more to the tally after their relocation. They made Eaglesham their first home, arriving on July 1, 1930. The family worked hard to fell enough trees by the fall to build their own log home. “She was sent to go to work right away for the Cymonds in Donnelly as a housekeeper,” says Bourassa, adding that Sylvestre’s two brothers were also sent out to work to help the family. “Mom said she made $5 per month that she sent to her parents for whatever they needed.” Sylvestre married the love of her life, Donat Sylvestre, at 20 years old and spent 54 years married to him. The Sylvestres had 12 children, 11 of whom survived. They lived in Tangent on a farm, raising cows, chickens, sheep, pigs, and various other animals. Bourassa says every spring the family would raise 1,000 chicks to be hens to produce eggs as profit for the family. “Mom worked as a teacher’s aide at Tangent School,” says Bourassa, adding her mom recently told staff at the Manoir du Lac in McLennan, where she resides, of her position. “Most kids that were at the school called her memere.”
Sylvestre has also welcomed 35 grandkids, 63 great-grandkids, and 26 great-great-grandkids through her life, a legacy that will stretch deep into this century. Longevity runs in Sylvestre’s family. Her own mom, Marie-Ange Boivin, was born in 1897 and lived through three centuries, passing away in 2000 at the age of 103. Her dad, Alfred, also lived a very long life, passing away at 95. Sylvestre’s rich life allowed her to remain living on her own until she was 80 years old, when she decided to move into the Villa Beausejour in Falher. When she fell ill at 97, she ended up with pneumonia and had to be moved afterward to the Manoir du Lac in McLennan. Here she has resided for the last nine years. Sylvestre has five sisters and four brothers who are still alive, with the youngest just 83 years old. Happy 106th birthday to Mrs. Sylvestre!
Emily Plihal Local Journalism Initiative Reporter - South Peace News - southpeacenews.com
Emily Plihal, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, South Peace News