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News: Fort Saskatchewan's Online Weekly Newspaper
Volume 3, Issue 3, January 21, 1998

Contributed for use in Alberta Digital Archives by Darlene Homme 


Three 100th birthdays to celebrate

There is nothing outwardly extraordinary about Fort Saskatchewan's three new centenarians. 

Clara Gunness celebrates her 100th birthday Thursday, Jan. 22. Muriel Johnson and her brother Murray Legate celebrate their 100th birthday on Jan. 27. 

The three traded jokes and comments among themselves at the head table during the Dr. Turner Lodge monthly birthday party last week. They smiled for the cameras and accepted congratulations. Muriel and Murray gave each other the kind of trouble brothers and sisters do. ("He's always interrupting me," she said. "She's hitting me again," he replied.) Clara tried to get Murray to eat his cake. All three gladly talked of old times and old friends.

Murray, a former school principal, discussed teaching methods and child discipline. Muriel, also a former teacher, gladly disagreed with Murray.

Clara reminisced about the hard times keeping a business going during the Great Depression, and the good times years later when the family had money to travel. "I didn't have a hard life," says Clara. "I enjoyed it."

On her big day Clara plans to try a glass of red wine, and perhaps a short dance. Muriel and Murray will probably play a little tune on the piano and enjoy their big families.

- Jan. 22: Celebration for Clara Gunness, Dr. Turner Lodge, 7 pm. No gifts please.
- Jan. 25: Celebration for Muriel Johnson & Murray Legate, Pioneer House, 2 to 4 p.m.

Clara Gunness Born: Jan. 22, 1898, Branford, Ont.  Raised in Togo, Sask. Married Howard Gunness, 1924. Operated pool room & barber shop, near Biggar, Sask. 18 years before moving to Togo. Operated farm machinery dealership there until retiring in 1978. First resident of Dr. Turner Lodge. One daughter, one son.

Muriel Johnson Born: Jan. 27, 1898, Ceylon, Ont. Came west after finishing high school. Earned teaching certificate in Camrose. Taught near Gibbons. Married Carl Johnson, 1924. Farmed on Sturgeon River 33 years. Taught  two years in Fort. Moved to Dr. Turner Lodge 1985. Has always loved piano & still plays regularly. Six daughters.

Murray Legate Born: Jan. 27, 1898, Ceylon, Ont.  Also earned teaching certificate in Camrose. Taught for time here, then moved to U.S. Travelled in search of work. Married Avis Wooldridge in California, 1937. Teacher once more in Gibbons 1938. Principal of new school in 1948. Retired 1957. Lives with Avis in Rivercrest. Three sons.

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