Long-time Fernie resident Emma Chala celebrated her 100th birthday on Oct. 13

Fernie resident celebrates 100th birthday

Emma Chala celebrated her 100th birthday on Oct. 13.

Emma Marie White was born at home on October 13, 1915.

Emma’s father was a miner and the family lived in Michel where her father’s job was  working with the horses that brought coal out of the mine.

Emma’s daughter Lois Halko said that at one time her grandparents had moved back to the Ukraine with their children but after five years they returned to Natal.

Emma was raised in a log house without running water or bathroom facilities although it did have electricity.  She recalls enjoying playing with a doll purchased from the Eaton’s catalogue and cycling around the yard and skating.  She said that back then children didn’t have toys like they do now, fun was made climbing hills, picking flowers and enjoying an ice cream cone when the wagon came around.

Emma attended school in Natal until grade eight which was the accepted norm at the time and at age 16 went to work as a waitress at the Michel and Alexandra Hotels.

She married John Chala in 1935 and they built their first home on the outskirts of Natal also known as “Little Chicago.”  Their two children, Lois and Allan were born at home.

Emma loved to accompany her husband fishing and to picnics but family has always mattered most, she was very pleased with the arrival of grandchildren, Jason, Jennifer and Mark and when they were older welcomed their spouses Karen, Cory and Stacy. The highpoint of her life now is her great grandchildren, Madeline, Emma, Charlotte, John, Paul, Adam and Callie.  Emma looks forward to their visits to Sparwood and in the past two months has travelled to Calgary and Lethbridge to visit with them.

Her family says that “Emma was the ultimate homemaker. She cooked delicious meals, often entertaining friends and family over a homemade dinner. She later taught family members to make Ukrainian and Slovak favourites such as perogies and borscht, She loved to share recipes with others. She baked often, excelling in sweetbreads. She sewed clothing for herself and her daughter. She was an immaculate house cleaner although keeping a clean house in a coal mining town was a challenge, especially in the 1960s. Emma and John moved to Sparwood in 1969. Through the many tributes paid to Emma, it stood out that she has many great qualities, including  being  a peacekeeper,  a helper, compassionate, loving social  parties with friends and isn’t  extravagant, loved reading novels and recipe books and even now at 100 years of age keeps current with local, Canadian and world news. And with the exception of moving to the Ukraine for five years in the early 1920’s has lived in this one community all of her life.

This lady has seen many changes in her life but one thing has been constant in hers, her love of family, friends and community, her integrity and gratitude for life in general. Congratulations Emma, Happy 100th Birthday.

 

Just Posted

Crews successfully battle overnight house fire in Tie Lake

No injuries, home damage minimal thanks to quick response by crews

More burning prohibitions rescinded in southeast B.C.

Category 2 and 3 fires will be permitted in Southeast Fire Centre as of 1p.m. on Wednesday.

UPDATED: Pratt to be acclaimed as Cranbrook mayor

Mayor will serve another term after running unopposed in the upcoming municipal election

Eight cattle dead in tunnel crash

RCMP thanks agencies after cattle truck crash; investigates vehicle and thrift store thefts

Parlez-vous français? Fernie students do!

Francophone and schools offering French immersion popular among Elk Valley families

B.C. RCMP turn to Const. Scarecrow to shock speeders into slowing down

New addition will watch over drivers from a Coquitlam median for first-of-its-kind pilot in Canada

Youth give back to community

On August 30, Eliora and William Vandersteen, Matthew White, Isla Vandersteen, Alexis… Continue reading

B.C. home to 1/3 of Canada’s overdose deaths in first 3 months of the year

There were 1,036 overdose deaths in the first three months of the year, with 94 per cent accidental

B.C. candidate moves from hospice care to council race

He beat terminal cancer twice and entered hospice when he decided to run for council.

Canadian tobacco exec pushes back against vaping health concerns

A warning from Interior Health about the unknown health risks of vaping is getting a partial rebuke

Ministry of Agriculture commits $300,000 to help B.C. farmers obtain land

B.C. Land Matching Program supports access to affordable farmland for young farmers

Canadian air force short 275 pilots

Attrition outpaces recruitment and training claims Air Force

Teacher suspended after physically shushing, saying ‘shut up’ to student

Grade 5 student reported feeling ‘confused and a little scared’

A B.C. society helps to reforest Crown land after wildfires

Forest Enhancement Society of BC focuses on wildfire mitigation and the reforestation

Most Read