Reginald Schultz has a century of memories, many of them about growing up in central Alberta.
The Second World War veteran, avid outdoorsman, retired railroad worker and horse breeder celebrated his 100th birthday with family and friends at Sierra’s of Taylor Drive on Tuesday.
Born in Bashaw on Feb. 11, 1920, Schultz was raised on the farm where riding horses was the only means of transportation.
“It was the only way I had for getting around. I didn’t have a car. There were very few cars around,” said Schultz, who rode his horse to school.
“My brother and I would ride 15 to 20 miles to the north and west of Mirror to old Jim Gadsby’s place, the fellow who rode with the Jesse James gang, and we’d play baseball in their cow pasture.
“We had a heck of a ball game. We had a lot of fun. We made our fun. Not a nickle was spent. We didn’t have one.”
His son, Blaine Schultz, said with hardly any roads in the area in those days, just trails, and few cultivated fields, it’s where his father began his lifelong appreciation of nature.
“He used to talk about how prominent the wild flowers were in the spring in Alberta. With the song birds and wildflowers, he said it was like living in paradise,” said Blaine about his father, who strove to protect wetlands and became an avid birdwatcher. Bird feeders can still be found outside his condo window.
His son said fly fishing was a favourite family activity, and they took their fishing rods south to Waterton Lakes National Park and streams as far north as Grande Prairie.
His father recalled crossing streams in the foothills with his young daughter on his shoulders, and his wife Minerva holding their sons’ hands as they waded through the water.
His daughter, Bev McCleary, said her father still enjoys his independence, and goes for regular walks around his condo building for exercise, which may explain his good health.
“He loves to cook. He just bought himself an instant pot. He’s trying it out,” McCleary said.
The centenarian survived the Depression, injuries during the Second World War, and started his railway career shovelling coal into the engine of a locomotive.
When asked about his secret to longevity, he said stay positive and just enjoy life.
“I just did the things I liked.”