Stella Baker enjoys a moment with her dog at Ayre Manor.

Stella Baker, 107, owes longevity to keeping busy

Sooke resident celebrates another birthday today at Ayre Manor

“You’re only as old as you feel” is a term we’ve heard for as long as time itself, but the reality is, it’s true.

Today, Stella Baker turns 107, making her the oldest Sookie (and possibly oldest Islander) around. The digits don’t mean much to her though.

“I don’t feel old. I just feel like myself,” Baker said with a faint smile on her face in her room at Ayre Manor.

Born in Innisfail, Alta. in 1909, Baker and her family moved to Victoria when she was two years old. For perspective, R.M.S. Titanic was laid down this year in Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Losing her mother at age 13, Baker got busy working as a cleaner at Empress Cleaners in Victoria. Living on a goat farm, though, she also took joy in being around animals most of the time.

She enjoyed riding horses, and at one point, she had a pet deer, which she kept until the deer matured and grew horns; it was then donated to a nature preserve in Beacon Hill park.

The farm was a special place in Baker’s heart. It was home. It was family.

“She loved it at the goat farm,” recalled Tara Jensen, her great-granddaughter, adding that Baker always preferred drinking goat milk instead of water, as she believed the water would “make her stomach rusty.”

It was 50 years ago, when Baker and her husband built a house on Eustace Road, permanently making Sooke her home.

Baker was never one to stay still, though. After working as cleaner for many years, she retired at 65; but that wasn’t going to fly.

“She got bored, and went back to it for another 15 years,” Jensen said, adding that after she moved to Sooke, she continued travelling into town by bus, having never driven a car in her life.

Reno, Nev. was a constant travel destination, visiting her sister, Hilda. Baker had a taste for gambling. Every Saturday, she used to dance at the old Gorge pub in Victoria. She could drink anyone under the table.

Even at home, she kept busy. She collected soda pop bottles, crocheted, and at 70, she was climbing her apple tree constantly.

“She’d go as high as possible, because she used to say all the time that the good ones were at the top,” Jensen laughed.

Everyone in Sooke recognized Baker and her little Pomeranian, Sparky, so no doubt she is a dear part of what makes this town special.

When asked what her secret to living over 100 is, the truth is, it’s not so secret.

“You keep busy.”

 

Just Posted

Whisky society commits to charity donation in wake of whisky raids

Refund of Victoria Whiskey Festival tickets won’t impact charity beneficiaries

Victoria housing provider launches crisis prevention program to combat homelessness

Pacifica Housing aims to address challenges before tenants risk evictions

Victoria wins crucial WHL contest over Giants in Langley

Royals take over second in B.C. Division ahead of Vancouver

Cordova Bay group against plaza redevelopment

Cordova Bay shopping centre has three, four-storey buildings

Man hospitalized after early morning Sooke Road crash

Police say injuries are non life-threatening

WATCH: Giant waves smash Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point

Folks made their way to Ucluelet’s Amphitrite Point Lighthouse on Thursday, Jan.… Continue reading

Wind warning back in effect around Vancouver Island

80 km/h winds expected Saturday, Jan. 20, on east coast of Island, 100 km/h on west coast

VIDEO: Thousands join women’s march events across B.C.

Today marks one year since the first Women’s March on Washington

UPDATE: BC Transit’s handyDart service strike delayed

LRB application by contractor means new strike notice must be issued by union

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

B.C. woman who forged husband’s will gets house arrest

Princeton Judge says Odelle Simmons did not benefit from her crime

Women’s movement has come a long way since march on Washington: Activists

Vancouver one of several cities hosting event on anniversary of historic Women’s March on Washington

Liberals’ 2-year infrastructure plan set to take 5: documents

Government says 793 projects totalling $1.8 billion in federal funds have been granted extensions

Most Read