RIP, Merle Barwis: Canada's oldest person dies at 113
Published Friday, November 28, 2014 11:23AM EST
Last Updated Friday, November 28, 2014 1:03PM EST
Canada's oldest person -- renowned for her love of family, riding horses, and enjoying a cold beer -- has died in British Columbia. Merle Barwis was 113.
Barwis, a full-time mother who raised three children, had been living in a care facility in the Victoria suburb of Langford.
She would have turned 114 on Dec. 23.
Barwis was born in Iowa in 1900, and moved with her family to Saskatchewan when she was a young girl.
She grew up riding horses on her father's ranch and fell in love with a ranch hand. They married and moved to Sooke, on Vancouver Island, in 1952.
Her grandchildren remember her as a woman who demanded the highest standards of behaviour from everyone she met.
"Work hard, mind your own business, and have a cold beer once in a while," Richard Barwis told CTV Vancouver Island of his grandmother's philosophy on life.
Grandson Terry recalled her sense of humour.
"She really liked watching the World Series," Terry Barwis told CTV.
"I would go to visit her sometimes and she'd be watching a game. So I'd walk in and say 'So, who’s pitching today?’ And she'd say 'That old Boysenberry character,' when his name was really Quisenberry."
In 2011, when her family held a birthday party to mark her 111th birthday, Barwis was asked if she liked a cold beer.
"Yeah, I sure do," she said as she took a sip from a bottle.
She also loved her family, "and riding horses."
Her last wish was to have her ashes scattered in Saskatchewan, where she grew up horseback riding on her father’s ranch.
Her family will fulfill that wish come spring.
With a report from CTV Vancouver Island’s Joe Perkins