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

Surrey RCMP investigating after ‘sudden death’ of man found with critical injuries

Police say a man is dead after being found laying on the ground in the 13300-block of 114th Avenue

Teen charged with possession of a loaded firearm after incident at Whalley park

Surrey RCMP say 17-year-old boy allegedly found in possession of loaded handgun

Kids Boost Immunity honours Surrey school for vaccine donations

Elementary students donate more than 3,000 vaccinations to UNICEF

Pug life: Waggish dog names listed in White Rock

Freedom-of-information request lists most ‘pupular’ dog names registered with the city

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

WATCH: South Vancouver Island shooting an ‘isolated and targeted’ incident, say police

One person in custody, another fled following shooting and crash on West Shore

Woe, Canada: Bruins down Maple Leafs 5-1 in Game 7

No Canadian teams left in Stanley Cup playoffs

Defence accuses officer of ‘incompetence’ in trial for B.C. man accused in daughters’ murder

Double murder trial for the Victoria father accused of killing his two young daughters continues

Loud jets from Abbotsford are annoying residents of tiny U.S. town

Flights out of Abbotsford airport turn over border town and annoy residents, Sumas mayor says

Olympic auditions return to Lower Mainland

Event an opportunity for unknown athletes to shine and, maybe, change sports

B.C. men challenge constitutionality of Canada’s secret no-fly list

Parvkar Singh Dulai says he received a “denial of boarding” notification under the no-fly program last May 17

Murder on B.C. property didn’t need to be disclosed before sale, court rules

Buyer had tried to break contract after learning a man with ties to crime had been murdered there

B.C. pedophile wins appeal after violating court order

Kelly Glen Isbister’s sentence was cut by the BC Court of Appeal

Most Read