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Red Deer woman nearing 101st birthday

Clara Mitchell’s birthday is Feb. 8
Red Deer’s Clara Mitchell is set to turn 101 years old on Feb. 8. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

With her 101st birthday right around the corner, Red Deer’s Clara Mitchell says she’s still full of energy.

“It feels like I’m 15,” Mitchell said on Friday, less than two weeks before her birthday on Feb. 8.

“What’s my secret (to living a full life)? Be happy and enjoy what you’re doing.”

Mitchell grew up in Saskatchewan and moved to Red Deer in the late-1940s. She has five children – two live in Red Deer, one in Spruce Grove, another in Edmonton and one in Saskatchewan. For about 70 years, Mitchell helped fundraise for her church through the Catholic Women’s League.

The family will have some kind of birthday celebration, but exact plans are still being determined.

“Birthdays were always important to us. When any of the children or anybody had a family we celebrated,” Mitchell said, adding just she wants to be with family for her birthday.

Carolyn Brown, Mitchell’s daughter, said it was exciting to celebrate her mom’s 100th birthday last year.

“Mom likes to celebrate her birthday. She used to celebrate for a whole week by going out to lunch with friends and doing things. We’ve cut down a little on those celebrations,” said Brown.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions in February 2022, friends and family weren’t able to have a big party to celebrate Mitchell’s 100th birthday, so small groups came instead.

“For a while only two people were about to visit – my sister and myself. That was tough. There were outdoors visits when we couldn’t be close, but mom’s sight is poor and hearing isn’t great, so trying to visit 20 feet away wasn’t easy. But it’s nice that we’re able to come together again,” said Brown.

Megan Powers, Mitchell’s granddaughter, said there were long stretches of time during the pandemic where she wasn’t able to see her grandmother, which was “tough.”

When Mitchell turned 100, Powers ended up getting sick, so she couldn’t see her on her birthday either. Powers said she’s especially excited to be able to celebrate Mitchell’s 101st birthday early next month.

“We always figured grandma would make it to 100 (years old) and when she did that was pretty exciting,” Powers said.

“Now she’s about to be 101 and every time I come to see her she’s happy, smiling and cracking jokes. She’s a little more forgetful now, but she always has a story to tell me. I love my grandma and I want her to feel loved.”

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Red Deer’s Clara Mitchell (centre), alongside her daughter Carolyn Brown (left) and granddaughter Megan Powers, is set to turn 101 years old on Feb. 8. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)

Sean McIntosh

About the Author: Sean McIntosh

Sean joined the Red Deer Advocate team in the summer of 2017. Originally from Ontario, he worked in a small town of 2,000 in Saskatchewan for seven months before coming to Central Alberta.
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