Langley’s Dorscie Paterson celebrated her 108th birthday on Monday, Jan. 25, with about two dozen friends and relatives gathered outside the Cedar Hill residential care facility near Langley Memorial Hospital where the longtime community activist lives.
Her visitors waved and sang ‘Happy Birthday’ from outside, accompanied by a Scottish piper, while Paterson smiled and waved from inside in order to respect COVID-19 safety regulations, touching her hand to the glass when well-wishers did the same.
Friend Steve Greenlee, a regular visitor who has known her more than 30 years, said Paterson was frustrated by her enforced isolation.
“She’s bored,” he told the Langley Advance Times.
“She’s a people person.”
Bonnie Greenlee, Steve’s spouse, noted that a few days prior to her birthday, Paterson mentioned she would prefer 107, or 106 to 108.
READ ALSO: Langley’s Dorscie Paterson turns 107
“She just doesn’t like the number,” Greenlee remarked.
“She thinks it’s getting too high.”
Paterson has said she hopes coronavirus restrictions ease enough that she can attend the official opening of the new Langley hospice.
One of the visitors, retired MLA Rich Coleman said the new hospice should recognize Paterson’s contribution.
“They should name the place after her,” said Coleman, who has known Paterson for decades.
“She’s just an amazing lady.”
Paterson spent more than three decades advocating for a stand-alone hospice residence for Langley.
In 2005, it opened across from Langley Memorial with 10 beds.
Paterson went on to drive and volunteer at the hospice for many years.
Jeannine McCarthy, a long-time friend who convinced Paterson to join the hospice board, described her as a “wonderful, wonderful woman.”
“She’s done so much in her life to help people,” McCarthy commented.
When asked in the past about the secret to her longevity, Paterson, who has outlived her husband and son, said it was all about keeping busy and doing something good in the community.
“Keep your mind going. Study. Think. And if you see something that needs help, or you can do something about it, like I did about the hospice, do it! Don’t stand around. Do it right now. Don’t sit on your backside and hold your hands.”
Because of the pandemic, Paterson couldn’t attend the sod-turning for the new hospice.
The new 15-bed facility currently being constructed on 52nd Avenue at 219A Street will have space for patients and their families, including private rooms for patients, a dedicated sanctuary, and family kitchen, laundry and washroom.
It will be able to care for about 350 people a year, up from the current hospice capacity of 238 patients.