Sidney resident Gladys Pfeffer celebrated her 100th birthday Saturday (April 30), a day that marked a century of experience and lifelong humanitarianism.
Pfeffer went to university in Montreal in the 1930s on scholarship and went on to become an English professor at Algonquin College and a high school teacher in Ottawa, Ont. She is new to the Saanich Peninsula, having moved from Ottawa in November 2021.
She married her husband Helmut Pfeffer, a German refugee living in Canada, during the Second World War and temporarily lost her Canadian citizenship for marrying a German. She and Helmut managed to overcome this barrier and following the war, worked tirelessly to help new immigrants and refugees transition into their new lives.
Gladys is multilingual and an expert on culture, and throughout her retirement continued on with her calling to help new Canadians.
She also volunteered for over 30 years at the Ottawa International Airport, where she provided liaison and translation services in English, Spanish and French to travellers in need.
“Gladys is my grandmother and my hero. She has been fundamental in demonstrating service, kindness and good citizenship in my life,” said granddaughter Jessica Pfeffer in an email to Black Press Media.
Before Gladys was born, her family came to Canada from the border of Syria and Lebanon and their traditions and customs remained intact – her Middle Eastern cooking and treats are much appreciated by the family to this day.
Pfeffer is a mother, grandmother and great grandmother and is said to have a courageous and adventurous spirit despite her age.
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