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

Summer Stories Around Town program encourages outdoor reading in Elk Valley

With storywalks and clothesline stories in Fernie and Sparwood, everyone can get reading

School District 5 identifies funding needs in yearly budget report

The SD5 board presented three main projects that need increased funding in the coming years

From baseball stars to forest fires: Southeast Fire Centre water bomber has an interesting past

Tanker 489 is stationed in Castlegar this year, but in the 1960s it belonged to the L.A. Dodgers.

Student athletes recognized for outstanding seasons

Fernie Secondary School students got their awards in a drive by ceremony last week

The Elk Valley celebrates Canada Day

Creative socially distant Canada Day festivities were held in both Fernie and Sparwood this week

B.C. sees 25 new COVID-19 cases, community exposure tracked

One death, outbreaks remain in two long-term care facilities

VIDEO: Vancouver Island cat missing 18 months reunited with family

Blue the cat found at Victoria museum 17 kilometres from home

COVID-19 cases identified in Kelowna, after public gatherings

Those who were downtown or at the waterfront from June 25 to July 6 maybe have been exposed to COVID-19.

VIDEO: Alberta man rescues baby eagle believed to be drowning in East Kootenay lake

Brett Bacon was boating on a lake in Windermere when he spotted the baby eagle struggling in the water

Conservationists raise concerns over state of care for grizzly cubs transferred to B.C. zoo

‘Let them be assessed now before their fate is sealed,’ urges B.C. conservationist Barb Murray

B.C.’s COVID-19 job recovery led by tourism, finance minister says

Okanagan a bright spot for in-province visitor economy

National Kitten Day aka the ‘purrfect’ day to foster a new friend

July 10 marks National Kitten Day, a special day to celebrate all things kittens

Lower Mainland YouTubers claim to be Kelowna display toilet ‘poopers’

RCMP can not speak to legitimacy of video, will be investigating

Haida matriarchs occupy ancient villages as fishing lodges reopen to visitors

‘Daughters of the rivers’ say occupation follows two fishing lodges reopening without Haida consent

Most Read