Humphrey happy to turn 100 quietly

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It will be a quiet celebration when Shirley Humphrey of Wyoming turns 100 March 12.

Heather Wright/The Independent

Shirley Humphrey will likely be celebrating her 100th birthday in a quiet way and that will likely suit her just fine.

The Wyoming woman has been weathering the pandemic fairly well, watching her classic game shows on TV, and doing puzzles with her daughter. And as she turns 100 on March 12, just one day after the first year anniversary of the declaration of the COVID-19 pandemic, she’ll likely do the same thing, according to her daughter, Catherine Humphrey Tyrie.

Humphrey was born in her parent’s home in Sarnia in 1921, the third of five children and the only girl; a thorn between the roses her dad used to say.

She, like many others of the time, hung around with a group of friends in the neighbourhood. Humphrey’s eye was drawn to her friend’s brother, Charles. Shirley waited for him as he went off to serve his country during the Second World War.

Shirley kept busy working at Muellers Munitions during that time. She was also a cashier at Loblaws.

When Charles returned, they married. That was an eventful day, according to Humphrey-Tyrie.

“Father and one buddy came back in September of ‘45. Mother and Dad were married on the 17th of October. It was a Wednesday…During the ceremony, a flash went off and father and his best man were halfway to the floor when they realized it was from a camera, not an army flack.”

Early into their marriage the Humphreys moved out to a farm in Plympton-Wyoming. They worked the small farm with animals and a few crops and raised three girls.

After they retired, the pair started to travel and Shirley remembers that with fondness.
Charles was part of the Forest Pipe Band and it travelled all over the world. The pair most memorably went to England in 1987 so Charles could play with the pipe band for the Queen on Canada Day.

“The pipe band took the tour into Europe too,” says Humphrey. “We’ve been a couple of times for the pipe band to Scotland and England. I have been to Australia. I think I’ve been to England and Scotland eight or nine times.”

Now, Humphrey stays closer to home. Like many people during the pandemic, she’s taken up puzzles. She’s lost count how many she’s done. She won’t take on any that are over 750 pieces saying “750 is plenty.”

And she says, she’s always been a homebody, so she’s quite happy even though the pandemic doesn’t allow for visitors.

So what, according to Humphrey, is the secret to a long life?

“Mind your own business,” she says, not clarifying if she didn’t like the question or if that is the reason she’s turning 100.