It’s not often someone in Osoyoos receives birthday greetings from the Queen of England.
But Gertrude Machan is the exception. She received kind words from Queen Elizabeth, along with greetings from Prime Minster Justin Trudeau, Premier John Horgan — and a visit from Mayor Sue McKortoff — as she celebrated a milestone birthday December 3.
The Sunshine Ridge resident turned 100 with family and friends Monday, enjoying lemon cake and peppermint tea.
“I love you all and I thank you all,” said Gertrude as a table set up in the Lodge’s Country Kitchen was covered with cake, presents and cards.
“I had the Mayor of Osoyoos visiting this morning and she brought me a certificate and her birthday is the same day as mine. It’s her birthday today and she said there are six others in this town that have birthdays on December 3.”
Gertrude was born near Lacombe, AB, on December 3, 1918.
According to the collective recollection of family attending her birthday, she has three children — all adopted — nine grandchildren, 50 great-grandchildren and seven great-great grandchildren.
Gertrude has spent much of her life working within a Christian ministry, first with her first husband Ronald Remiche, who was a pastor providing service in northern and coastal BC, and later with the Seventh Day Adventist Church.
She moved to Osoyoos in 1991 with second husband Ken Machan. Ken passed away several years ago.
With two husbands gone, Gertrude now spends time with a younger sister, Mildred, who is 94 and also lives at the Lodge. She also paints and in 2016 published a memoir of her time ministering with her first husband.
“She walks every day — she still does, when the weather’s good, she’ll walk every day,” said granddaughter Rhonda McClellan, who was visiting from Kamloops with her daughter — and Gertrude’s great-granddaughter Ashley McClellan.
“She’s still very active.”