Long-time Campbell Riverite Margaret Carlin will celebrate her hundredth birthday on Monday.
Born in a small town in Saskatchewan in 1911, Carlin grew up on a farm. But she knew she didn’t want to be a farmer at a young age, according to her niece Frances Hudock and her nephew Ron Cameron, who told their aunt’s story because she was too tired to talk.
“Grandpa gave her a cow every year to raise,” said Hudock. “Each of the kids had these to raise, but she decided she didn’t want to be a farmer, she wanted to be a nurse.”
Cameron added that she helped her parents with work on the family farm in trade for the cow each year.
“So she saved them up, and when she graduated from high school she sold her cattle to pay for her nursing,” he explained.
When she was 18 years old, Carlin came out to B.C. by herself to study, and Hudock said this was certainly not the norm for a young woman in the late 1920’s.
“Especially for a woman to sort of go off on her own and have her own money and do that,” said Hudock. “It shocked her father that she was going to leave home and go to New Westminster to Royal Columbian and take up nursing.”
Carlin graduated from Royal Columbian in 1933. She worked for a couple of years in Powell River and went back to school in Chicago to upgrade her nursing skills.
She then went on to manage a clinic in Prineville, Oregon from about 1937-60, where she met and married her late husband, Henry Carlin, in the early 1940s.
The couple moved up to Campbell River around 1960, and she took a break from her nursing career for several years when they bought a store here, then moved to Duncan and ran a store there.
By the mid-1960s they moved back to Campbell River and Margaret started nursing again. She worked at the Quinsam clinic for many years, which is where Hudock said many Campbell Riverites would know her from.
Besides nursing, Hudock said Margaret’s passions have been knitting, crocheting, sewing and volunteering in the community. She would knit baby outfits “by the hundreds” to fundraise for senior housing, and spent many hours volunteering at local resident care facility, Yucalta Lodge, in her later years.
“She would say, ‘I’m going down to help the old people,’ and she was older than them,” explained Hudock with a laugh.
Although Margaret was tired during her interview, she was able to answer one question, and that was, how does it feel to be turning 100?
“Just like any other day,” she said.