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Stories from our resident centenarians - Part 3: She’s a great-great-great grandma


Two children, eight grandchildren, 12 great grandchildren, five great-great grandchildren and two greatgreat-great grandchildren – what may seem like the beginning of a tear-jerker MasterCard commercial is actually the incredible list of offspring 101 year old Mary Anaka calls hers.

Mary Anaka
Mary Anaka, risdent at Golden Prairie Home.

Born on February 14, 1915 Mary was the ninth child in a house of 11. In 1931 she married William Anaka, and together they had two children.

Mary and William worked sideby-side, teaching school, playing in an orchestra – he played violin and she played piano – and finally owning and operating a photography studio in Canora.

Mary taught piano and music theory to many children over the years, retiring at the early age of 70. She loved to read, and she wrote and published their family history book. Mary has always loved music, her cat ‘kitty-puss’, eating chocolate and drinking 7-up.

“Family get-togethers were happy times indeed,” said Sharon Phaneuf, Mary’s daughter. “She was a wonderful cook and loved to entertain.”

Up until the age of 93, Mary was able to grow a beautiful, bountiful garden. Now, living at Golden Prairie Care Home, Mary is inspiring staff with her love of music and the gift of her entertaining spirit.

“Dear, sweet Mary, until recently, loved to be front and centre when we have musical events here, either dancing or standing with the entertainers and listening carefully to their instruments,” said Karen Souchotte, recreation co-ordinator at the Golden Prairie Care Home.

“Our first impressions of Golden Prairie Care home were very positive. Everyone was so welcoming, and the home was so clean,” Phaneuf said. “Mary was so excited that she had her own room and bathroom. She was so happy she could sit in either room as long as she wanted to and no one would be hurrying her out.”

At the home, Mary likes the musical entertainment. A few years ago, when she was only 98, she wanted to start making music of her own, so she got a keyboard.  
Mary Anaka
Mary will still play kick ball and participate in balloon exercises. If she can catch the balloon, she will hold on to it and hug it tight.

I have no idea how the staff put up with it, but they never complained,” Phaneuf said.

At 100 years old, Mary was still dancing with Souchotte at the annual Christmas party.

“Even being at the Golden Prairie at mealtime is eyeopening. For years Mary has said ‘they sure don’t make sugar as sweet as they used to,’ so watching the kitchen staff swirling the sugar container over her teacup – to ensure that her tea was sweet enough – was very special,” Phaneuf said. “The atmosphere at Golden Prairie is so positive. The residents are happy, and the staff members are happy, too. I am so pleased to see the extra TLC that the residents receive.”