Veterans join Centenarian Club at Perley Rideau Health Centre

Residents at the Perley Rideau Veterans’ Health Centre were honoured in celebration of the Century Club last month.

The Centre hosted a small reception for 21 residents who reached the 100 years old or older milestone in 2019.

Phil Nicholas, one of the residents, was inducted into the Century Club turned 100 on the day of the event.

His son, Ed Nicholas shared his father’s story about his life through the last century, touching on his military career.

“Him and his brothers, five of his family joined the army for the Second World War. All five returned, which is pretty unheard of. He worked for a chef in the army, a pastry chef,” says Nicholas about his father.

When he returned from the war, he volunteered to work with a gentleman to learn recipes and started his new career, post-war.

“It’s remarkable when people live this long. It’s good and bad. Some you see go, and it’s sad. He’s not particularly there yet, but the doctor says his heart is as strong as a bull and we’re expecting 101 to happen next year,” said Nicholas.

Other family members of the Perley Rideau residents were also there to share stories about their loved ones.

Bonnie Moodie, daughter of John Denzil Sparks, shared her father’s story of enlisting with the 23rd field ambulance of the Royal Canadian Army Medical Corps at Landsdowne Park in Ottawa.

“He trained in both Canada and England,” says Moodie. “Then Denzil spent five years in France, Belgium, Holland, and Germany where he cared for the wounded just behind the front lines, narrowly escaped death on several occasions. It was very traumatic. He was a part of D-Day plus one. June 7, 1944, and the rest is history. Denzil continued to serve overseas until the spring of 1946.” Bonnie Moodie, daughter of John Denzil Sparks


He loved to play euchre with his late wife Edna, listen to fiddle music, travel and fish up at their family cottage.

Sparks moved to Perley Rideau in 2018 and said it’s great to live with others like him.

In the event’s opening remarks, Akos Hoffer, CEO of Century Club, shared that their presence was an inspiration to everyone in attendance.

“While living beyond 100 years is certainly noteworthy, what’s even more impressive is the many contributions that members of the Century Club have made to Canada,” said Hoffer. “Eighteen of them served overseas during the Second World War, for instance. Most raised families and worked at careers that helped to create our modern world.”

The 21 residents were handed certificates in honour of their milestone, with family and friends in the audience.

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Paige LeClair

As a recent graduate from the St. Thomas University Journalism program, Paige has a passion for storytelling and investigative journalism. In 2016, she, along with her journalism team were awarded first place at the Emerge Media Awards in the multimedia category. The team was also a finalist at the Canadian Association of Journalist Awards. She is excited to work with other military spouses providing stories and information to the military community. Paige is newly married to Andrew, a Lineman, and moved to their first posting in Petawawa in May of this year. She is excited to begin this journey with Andrew, their dog Diablo, and cat, Linux

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Canadian Military Family Magazine