Surrey’s James and Sheila Dass are celebrating their 70th anniversary. The two were married in Fiji on Aug. 31

Seventy reasons to celebrate

James and Sheila Dass look back at 70 years of marriage.

It was an outdoor Hindu marriage under a canopy made of bamboo sticks supporting a corrugated tin roof and walls of coconut leaves.

On the night Aug. 31, 1946, about 150 people from the village of Tamavua in the southeast corner of the main island of Fiji gathered for the wedding of James and Sheila Dass.

James was 24 worked and worked as a carpenter for Sheila’s uncle. She was 15, the oldest of six sisters, and dedicated to “domestic duties.”

It was an arranged marriage – normal for the time, says daughter Marion Abid, one of their six children.

“I was working and didn’t know anything about it,” says James.

That night, Sheila was nervous, and a bit sad knowing she’d miss her family as she moved in with his.

Seventy years later, with their anniversary coming up, Sheila has no complaints.

“I feel it – it’s a big day. I’m so happy with my children and great-grandchildren” – they have 24 of them, from 17 grandchildren.

Photo: The couple on their wedding day.

Today, the long-retired couple lives in a seniors’ complex near Bear Creek Park.

Both use walkers, and for ages 94 and 85 respectively, James and Sheila are in pretty good health.

He plays pool and cards with his friends in the neighbourhood, and even drove his van until last year.

“I miss my driving, but now all of my children take me out,” he says.

“Their love for each other is very strong, and whenever they are separated, they miss each other,” says daughter Venus Cardwell.

Their kids, now mostly in their 60s, remember growing up with a hardworking father, a stay-at-home mom, and lots of swimming and fishing in Fiji.

The family moved to Canada in 1974 and they’ve long-since considered it their home.

Before their wedding, neighbourhood invitations were door-to-door. Instead of cards, they gave out handfuls of rice or flour.

They’ve sent out invitations to families and friends for the 70th anniversary celebration on the afternoon Aug. 27 in Fleetwood.

On the top of the card are the words “Love is Eternal.”

Anyone interested in attending can contact Venus Cardwell at 604-588-2487 or vk_cardwell@yahoo.com

Just Posted

City ready for ride-hailing, says Delta mayor

The city has set up business licence fees for ride-hailing on par with what taxis in Delta pay

Surrey-area teens will have a ball at Christmas, thanks to collection effort

Realty company’s Bring on the Balls campaign now in its third year

Surrey groups receive funding for training support for people 55-plus

PICS getting $728K to help 120 people over two years

Surrey man accused of sex offences against child released on bail, warn Delta police

Gurchetan Singh Samra, 69, must stay away from — and not communicate with — anyone under 16 years old

City of Surrey says pension benefits ‘guaranteed’ for police recruits

A National Police Federation representative says it may not be enough incentive

VIDEO: More air-passenger rights go into effect this weekend

The first set of passenger rights arrived in mid-July in Canada

Swoop airlines adds three destinations in 2020 – Victoria, Kamloops, San Diego

Low-fair subsidiary of WestJet Airlines brings new destinations in April 2020

Aid a priority for idled Vancouver Island loggers, John Horgan says

Steelworkers, Western Forest Products returning to mediation

Navigating ‘fever phobia’: B.C. doctor gives tips on when a sick kid should get to the ER

Any temperature above 38 C is considered a fever, but not all cases warrant a trip to the hospital

Transportation Safety Board finishes work at B.C. plane crash site, investigation continues

Transport Canada provides information bulletin, family of victim releases statement

Trudeau sets 2025 deadline to remove B.C. fish farms

Foes heartened by plan to transition aquaculture found in Fisheries minister mandate letter

Planning price tag for futuristic ‘We Town’ concept in Abbotsford revealed

Developer says highrises would house 30,000, but Abbotsford mayor says project is in wrong place

1,300-signature petition for free menstrual products turned over to UFV president

‘Go with the flow’ campaign calls for all University of the Fraser Valley bathrooms to be stocked

Wagon wheels can now be any size! B.C. community scraps 52 obsolete bylaws

They include an old bylaw regulating public morals

Most Read