Jean Zarazun of Canora reaches the remarkable milestone of her 100th birthday on November 25, but is holding off on the party until the weekend so that more of her loved ones will be able to attend.
Jean Zarazun was born in 1921 to Steve and Teene Dutchak, and was raised on the family’s farm north of Canora.
“I went to Forest Hill School, which was about three miles from our farm,” said Zarazun. “I went there until Grade 9 and then took correspondence for Grade 10 and 11.”
After completing Grade 11 she turned her attention to helping out on the family farm.
“We farmed about eight quarters of land, with crops and livestock, including cattle and horses,” Zarazun recalled. “ My riding horse was Black Beauty, and I had a lot of fun rides with my sister Nellie.”
She fell in love and in 1943 married Al Zarazun, who was in the military at the time.
“He came to Canora for our wedding and then went back to the military. His military postings took us to British Columbia from 1945 to 1948; including Vancouver, Prince Rupert and Victoria, before we returned to Canora.”
They raised four children: the oldest is Al (Janice), followed by Marlene (Ron Johnston), then Warren (Abby) and Howie (Janet). Zarazun’s husband passed away in 1999.
In recent years she has thoroughly enjoyed spending time with her six grandchildren and one great-grandchild. Other than the years in B.C., Zarazun has lived in or near Canora for pretty much her whole life. Her motto is Life is the Greatest Gift.
“I count my blessings and thank the Lord daily- for everything that has happened in my life, all the blessings that come from Him.”
For many years she was actively involved with the Ukrainian Catholic Church in Canora, the Canora Hospital Auxiliary, and the Keen Age Centre.
“I have since retired from these groups, but I love keeping in touch with other members.”
Even though she has reached 100 years of age, Zarazun still enjoys keeping busy with housework and looking after the flowers outside during the growing season.
“An old knee injury holds me back a bit, so I have to be careful,” she admitted. “I still love to cook and talk to friends on the phone.”
At her age, Zarazun took the arrival of COVID seriously, limiting her excursions mainly to shopping trips with family members. But she still enjoys good food.
“I like vegetable soup, chicken and ribs, and chocolate for dessert. Tuxedo cake is my favourite dessert.”
After a century of life experiences, Zarazun has accumulated considerable wisdom when it comes to being happy.
“The secret to living a long life is to keep busy, have a good heart, laugh, hold no grudges, frequently chat with friends on the phone, and you’ll make it to 100,” she concluded.
In order to make it easier for family and friends to make it to Canora, Zarazun’s is holding her 100th birthday party this Saturday, November 27.