Cecil and Pat Rees, who live in Saanich’s Berwick House, recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. She is 99 years old, he is 100. (Photo courtesy of Berwick House)

Cecil and Pat Rees, who live in Saanich’s Berwick House, recently celebrated their 73rd wedding anniversary. She is 99 years old, he is 100. (Photo courtesy of Berwick House)

Saanich couple reflect back on 73 years of marriage

Cecil and Pat Rees were married on Oct. 15, 1945 in Prince Albert, Sask.

Sometimes, it helps to stand out.

Cecil Rees was the one and only male in a secretary school, where he enrolled after his father had urged him. Rees was born with polio in his left foot, a condition that his father believed would limit his job opportunities. Rees followed this advice and eventually landed a secretary job in the fall of 1943 with the Canadian National Railway in Prince Albert, where he met Pat, who like Cecil, was an expert typist. Over time, they discovered that that they shared many other things as well, and two years later, they were married.

RELATED: Another Royal wedding: Princess Eugenie weds beau at Windsor Castle

Seventy-three years later, 100-year-old Rees and 99-year-old Pat continue to call each other man and wife, and like so many couples, who have known each other for a long time, both of them know all of the key dates.

In fact, their marriage date — Oct. 15, 1945 — was also the source of their first argument.

Cecil says he wanted to get married on Pat’s birthday — Oct. 19, 1919. She wanted to get married on his birthday, Oct. 11, 1918. So they split the difference, and they have been happy ever since.

They now live in Saanich’s Berwick House, where they can look back upon a rich life has taken them from Prince Alberta to just about every corner of western Canada: Saskatoon, Edmonton, Prince Rupert, North Vancouver, and finally, the Victoria area.

Their daughter has given them three grand-children, and five great-grand-children, while their son and his wife have adopted two girls. Over the years, they have developed long and lasting friendships with countless people, and their respective children through their work and their involvement with service groups like the Masonic Lodge and the Shriners.

Long gone are days when they played music together, but they still speak with a quiet pride about their weekly radio show on a Prince Albert radio station. With Pat on the piano, and Cecil as vocalist, the duo entertained trappers and others working in the bush of northern Saskatchewan for seven years.

“We have had a good life,” says Pat, in a matter of fact tone.

RELATED: Saanich couple finds romance at sea

What a life it has been. When both were born, Robert Borden was prime minister. The proverbial horse and buggy was a familiar sight on the streets of Canada, whose society nonetheless found itself in a transitional phase, morphing from its rural roots into an urban, consumerist society.

The fact Pat and Cecil have and continue to live this process — an Internet-connected computer now stands on Cecil’s desk — entitles them to some expertise on the big questions in life, including the question of what makes a successful marriage. Their answers are simple, but highly plausible.

“The main thing is we always did things together,” says Cecil. When he was attending the local Masonic Lodge, Pat would be involved with its female division. When he joined the Shriners, she would be participate in its female division. And so on. “We were very busy that way,” says Pat.

Ultimately though, they took time to know each other. “Life goes a lot faster now,” says Pat. “Life is a lot more complicated, a lot more diversions. Man and wife go different ways, because they like different things.”

Of course, they were disappointments along the way. Pat had to give up her business teaching secretaries when the couple left Prince Albert, and Prince Rupert did not exactly have the most active social life. But this reality also gave them a chance to grow close with each other and their children, adapting and growing along the way.

“If you don’t change, your in trouble,” she says. By the sound of it, they have passed on those lessons to their children, and grandchildren.

“My granddaughter will be married in July, and they have kept it step-by-step,” says Pat. “They are just a beautiful couple. They have done everything right, and they are going to very happy, because of the way they have gone about it. They have known each for a long time, and they are quite compatible too. I think that this best way.”

Others might say exactly the same thing about Pat and Cecil.


Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

wolfgang.depner@saanichnews.com

Just Posted

A screenshot of the First Peoples Cultural Councils First Peoples’ Map. (First Peoples Cultural Council)
Online resource blends B.C.’s Indigenous language, art and culture

North Saanich advisor says initiative supports urgent need to preserve Indigenous languages

General manager Lindsey Pomper says Sidney’s Star Cinema cannot wait welcome audiences when it reopens June 18, amid an easing of public health measures. (Wolf Depner/News Staff)
Sidney’s Star Cinema raises curtain for the first time after months in the darkness

Iconic theatre to reopen at half capacity for Friday night showing

A dogs in parks pilot study unanimously approved by Saanich council will evaluate how park space can best be shared between dog owners and non-owners alike. (Photo by Megan Atkins-Baker/News Staff)
Saanich to study park-sharing strategy between those with and without pets

District-wide People, Parks and Dogs study to produce recommendations by fall

Staff member Lena Laitinen gives the wall at BoulderHouse a workout during a media tour on June 16. (Rick Stiebel/News Staff)
BoulderHouse raring to rock Langford

Popularity of bouldering continues to climb across Greater Victoria

The Sooke Potholes is a jewel in the community's crown. Transition Sooke hosts a town hall meeting on community growth on June 26. (Courtesy: Sooke News Mirror)
Sooke forum tackles community growth

To Grow or Not to Grow online town hall meeting set for June 26

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

(Black Press Media file photo)
POLL: When was the last time you visited the mainland?

The films are again lighting the screens at local theatres, the wine… Continue reading

Anyone with information on any of these individuals is asked to call 1-800-222-TIPS (8477) or visit the website victoriacrimestoppers.ca for more information.
Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers wanted list for the week of June 15

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

Tk’emlups te Secwepemc Chief Rosanne Casimir stands outside the former Kamloops Indian Residential School after speaking to reporters, in Kamloops, B.C., on Friday, June 4, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
Kamloops chief says more unmarked graves will be found across Canada

Chief Rosanne Casimir told a virtual news conference the nation expects to release a report at the end of June

A woman wears a vaccinated sticker after receiving a COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination clinic run by Vancouver Coastal Health, in Richmond, B.C., Saturday, April 10, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
B.C. ranks among highest in world in COVID-19 first-dose shots: health officials

More than 76% of eligible people have received their 1st shot

An artists conception of the new terminal building at the Pitt Meadows Regional Airport.
Air travel taking off in B.C., but lack of traffic controllers a sky-high concern

There will be demand for more air traffic controllers: Miller

Canadian Armed Forces experts are on their way to North Vancouver after a local homeowner expressed worry about a military artifact he recently purchased. (Twitter DNV Fire and Rescue)
Military called in to deal with antique ‘shell’ at North Vancouver home

‘The person somehow purchased a bombshell innocently believing it was an out-of-commission military artifact’

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz have set their wedding date for February, hoping that more COVID-19 restrictions will have lifted. (The Macleans)
B.C. couples ‘gambling’ on whether COVID rules will let them dance at their wedding

Amy Kobelt and Tony Cruz pushed back their wedding in hopes of being able to celebrate it without the constraints of COVID-19

Most Read