Long-time Aldergrove residents Leona and Vic Spooner got to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary together April 9, triumphing over recent challenges including a heart attack and a pandemic that’s kept them in isolation. (Carolyn Holt photo)

Long-time Aldergrove residents Leona and Vic Spooner got to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary together April 9, triumphing over recent challenges including a heart attack and a pandemic that’s kept them in isolation. (Carolyn Holt photo)

B.C. grandpa beats heart attack amid COVID-19 to celebrate 71st wedding anniversary

Leona and Vic Spooner, both 91, were recently reunited after weeks in hospital

Aldergrove lovebirds Leona, 91, and Vic, 91, held hands as they sat in lawn chairs on their front yard on April 9, metres apart from their adult children to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That Thursday was a socially distant night of celebration for the senior couple, their family, and a tight-knit community of neighbours who have looked out for them during a global pandemic.

It marked the 71st year that the Spooners, Aldergrove residents for 30 years and great-grandparents, have been married.

The duo was surprised with dinner from their adult children, who had not seen their parents in weeks while in self-isolation.

The reunion was something their neighbours might never have thought possible just five weeks ago, when Vic suffered a heart attack and was whisked away to Langley Memorial Hospital.

“And now they’re celebrating,” neighbour Carolyn Holt said with awe.

“You can’t keep a good man down,” Vic quipped, to a driveway full of laughter.

“He’s been fun to live with,” his wife retorted.

While Vic was in hospital, neighbours, including Holt and Vicki Waterman, called Leona every day to check up on her.

“They phone and I keep thinking, what do I need now?” she said, explaining they keep her well-stocked with groceries while she self-isolates to prevent exposure to the coronavirus.

“They’ve just been wonderful,” she said about her neighbours.

READ MORE: Smiling 98 year old inspires new ways to connect at Langley hospital

Two days prior, one of them brought her a bouquet of balloons for their soon-to-be anniversary.

“This is the greatest neighbourhood,” Vic said.

The charming couple first met when they were sixteen.

It all started because of a ruler, Vic chuckled.

They were teenagers in the same class after Leona – who had only ever lived in an all-girls convent – moved to Burnaby and attended the same public school as him.

“I saw this little skinny guy,” Leona recalled, “And I said, can I borrow your ruler?”

After marrying at the age of 20, with birthdays just ten days apart, Leona fostered nearly a dozen newborns.

“Back in those days you had babies in your care for two years before they would be adopted by families in Langley,” she explained. “You couldn’t adopt them yourself.”

“She collected kids and I collected air miles,” Vic teased, later explaining that many of the kids came back to visit Leona throughout the years, as they grew older.

Vic volunteered as an auxiliary RCMP officer for 18 years in Langley after retiring from a career as a globe-trotting cinematographer at age 61.

READ MORE: Elderly couple reunited after two years

The last film Vic worked on was If These Walls Could Speak in 1965, which explored the mysteries behind well-known human folklore in locations around the globe.

“It took me to 48 countries in 18 months,” Vic said.

But nothing was ever as enjoyable as his time with the RCMP.

“I wanted to be active in the community,” he emphasized.

When asked what their secret to a long marriage is, Vic responded “communication.”

“Don’t argue and fight, just discuss,” he added, wishing aloud for another 20 years of life.

“You used to say 90 years old was your goal. So now you have a new goal,” his daughter chimed in.

“I’ve got another two good years in me anyway,” he smiled.

“I’m counting on it,” his wife nudged.

“It all worked out, I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful life with a wonderful, wonderful wife,” Vic melodized.

CoronavirusRelationships

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

The Sooke Santa Run will feature their youngest members as Santas, an annual tradition for the firefighters in Sooke, East Sooke, Shirley and Otter Point. The drive-by event takes place throughout the Sooke neighbourhood on Dec. 12. (File - Sooke News Mirror)
No one outside fire hall allowed to help volunteer for Sooke Santa Run

Drive-by event takes place on Dec. 12, with goal to raise $15,000

The Sooke School District is actively looking for more bus drivers after they had to cancel a handful of bus routes in late November. (Black Press Media file photo)
Bus driver shortage cancels routes in Sooke School District

More drivers needed to accomodate expanding bus routes amid pandemic

Penny Hart is calling on the community to help find her son Sean Hart who was last seen on Nov. 6 at a health institution in Saanich. (Devon Bidal/News Staff)
Search spreads for Saanich man missing from mental health facility for nearly a month

Family hopeful as possible sightings reported across Island and in Vancouver

Victoria’s Royal Jubilee Hospital took in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health as part of a provincial agreement. (Black Press Media file photo)
Victoria hospital takes in two COVID-19 patients from Northern Health

Royal Jubilee Hospital takes patients as part of provincial transport network

A West Shore man has been handed two tickets for failing to wear a mask after verbally abusing staff at a coffee shop in View Royal and gas station in Langford. (THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck)
Man ticketed twice for refusing to wear mask in same day, say West Shore RCMP

Police ask businesses to report incidences when they occur

(AP Photo/Paula Bronstein)
POLL: Has COVID-19 changed your plans for the holidays?

The lights are going up, the stacks of presents under the tree… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of Dec. 1

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry updates B.C.’s coronavirus situation at the legislature, Nov. 30, 2020. (B.C. government)
Hockey team brought COVID-19 back from Alberta, B.C. doctor says

Dr. Bonnie Henry pleads for out-of-province travel to stop

B.C. Premier John Horgan on a conference call with religious leaders from his B.C. legislature office, Nov. 18, 2020, informing them in-person church services are off until further notice. (B.C. government)
B.C. tourism relief coming soon, Premier John Horgan says

Industry leaders to report on their urgent needs next week

Natalie MacMaster and Donnell Leahy are inviting audiences into their home for ‘A Celtic Family Christmas’. (Submitted)
Natalie MacMaster coming to you through Cowichan Performing Arts Centre

Here’s your chance to enjoy the famed fiddler in an online show with her husband Donnell Leahy.

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

An 18-year old male southern resident killer whale, J34, is stranded near Sechelt in 2016. A postmortem examination suggests he died from trauma consistent with a vessel strike. (Photo supplied by Paul Cottrell, Fisheries and Oceans Canada)
“We can do better” — humans the leading cause of orca deaths: study

B.C. research reveals multitude of human and environmental threats affecting killer whales

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

Most Read