Bill Marr has reached 100 years! Another milestone in a life filled with milestones. Our father was born in July of 1917 in England. His father was overseas to serve in the First World War and his mother was there as a nurses aid and it was there in wartime Britain that he was born. Twenty four years later he was to return.
When Dad was named his parents chose two names of great significance. He was named after the then British Prime Minister, David Lloyd George, and the German head of state, Kaiser Wilhelm, thus, William Lloyd Marr.
His mother brought her new baby home in 1918 to Fort Langley where he was raised. In his early years he was called “Lloyd” and it was during his war service that people began to use “Bill”. For Ann and I our father was always Bill Marr. And we always knew his birthday as July 5th. (We have no idea if the story about 4 July is true or not.)
On the 5th Susan and I went over to see Dad and we took a little cake and candles. His mind is a little confused these days but we had a great visit. I asked him about the earliest birthday he could remember and and he was able to tell us that he remebered his Mom had parties for him in Fort Langley.
I went looking on the internet for a Blessing before our meal and I found this which I thought was so very fitting.
But a 100th birthday is special and Ann and I wanted to have a celebration to which family and friends were invited. We chose the 16th to give everyone time to arrange their schedules.
The obvious location was Adrian’s. For one thing it was at an airport which seemed appropriate. And then to it was a favorite place of Mom’s and Dad’s. We had many a lunch or dinner and we had several gatherings and celebrations there. We knew that Jim would look after us.
It turned out just fine. The patio room at Adrian’s is big and bright and it has a great ambiance. Lots of windows to look out on the airplanes and to let in the sounds of aircraft coming and going.
We began assembling about 11:30 and Ann brought Dad in about 12:15. He was in great form and I think the sight of his friends and family gave him energy. We had been concerned that he would not be able to stay very long but, in the end, he did fine.
Here we are at lunch. Dad is at the right going from table to table to greet his friends. This he did several times with real enthusiasm. Ann usually wheeled him around but on two occasions he just set off on his own! These days he is pretty quiet but this day he was very animated. It surprised us that the next day he remembered his party and he even wanted to know how much it cost! It was obviously a very special event for him.
Dad obviously enjoyed getting around to talk to everyone. We had not seen him so animated for such a long time.
He normally has a nap right after lunch and we felt he would be good for an hour at most. We thought he might not even get to the meal.
And what is a birthday party without a birthday cake? Not enough candles but I don’t think there would be room for all of them anyway. And Dad knew exactly what to do with them. I was in the background adding a little wind of my own to help him out. We have had so many birthday parties in our family, but this one was special.
In any family, the children have to be included if you want them to grow up travelling in the same direction. And so it was last Sunday. Dad received a stream of attention from the “Kids’ Table” both with visits and with cards.
This picture is priceless! Here is Bill with his great grand children around him. It may not mean much now but in years to come when all of these children are adults and their great grandfather has been gone for many years, this is the picture they will show their children and tell them about Bill. I am sorry that Sam, Olivia and Sophia were not there.
We had messages from family and friends who could not be present. Dad’s niece Malia, his sister Katherine’s daughter, who lives in the
United States is away and could not attend. But she had expressed her regrets and sent best wishes to Dad. There were members of the aviation community who sent best wishes. We took time in the festivities to acknowledge all of these well wishes.
And we had a letter from David Johnston, the Governor General of Canada, congratulating Dad on this very special occasion. And finally there was were congratulations from Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth. It is somewhat fitting considering that Dad’s commision as an officer in the RCAF is signed by Her Magesty’s father, King George, and that she and Dad both served in the war effort in England in the 1940’s. Just two old verterans.
Ann and I want to thank everyone who came out to Dad’s 100th Birthday Party. It meant a great deal to him. We know this because we have not seen him so animated and happy in years. He was taking obvious pleasure in seeing everyone. And for him to remeber the party the next day was unexpected. Thank you all so very much.