Esmée Estlin lives at Avalon Gardens retirement complex where residents celebrated her birthday. She turned 100 on Nov. 5. (Avalon Gardens/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Esmée Estlin lives at Avalon Gardens retirement complex where residents celebrated her birthday. She turned 100 on Nov. 5. (Avalon Gardens/Special to the Langley Advance Times)

Langley’s Esmée is the quintessential B.C. gal and she just turned 100

Swimming in Burrard Inlet, skiing around the province, boating the Coast – she’s done it all

Esmée Estlin has packed a lot of living into her years.

And now she’s reached 100 years of age and has only recently started slowing down.

Esmée resumed downhill skiing at 86. She stopped at the age of 92, and only after her skiing companion was unable to join her anymore.

“When he passed away in 2016, Esmée moved to Langley,” said her daughter, Sally. “She chose the Avalon Gardens because it fit her lifestyle, close to the country and her family. She loves it there and continually tells her friends and family how much she enjoys life at the Avalon.”

Avalon Gardens threw a party for Esmee’s milestone birthday.

“She was thrilled at the hundredth birthday celebration,” Sally said.

Esmée was born on Nov. 5, 1920, at the family home in Burnaby. The only girl among the siblings, she had four older brothers who helped raise her.

• ANOTHER MILESTONE: Neighbours ‘spontaneously’ celebrate Langley resident’s 100th birthday

Esmée loved the outdoors, namely swimming in summer and skiing in winter.

She used to swim in Burrard Inlet on lunchhours with chums while in elementary school.

“She learned to ski in high school, using home-made skis, carrying the skis while going with friends by ferry from Burnaby across to North Vancouver and then bus to the bottom of Hollyburn Mountain, where they hiked up to the ski hill and its one rope tow,” her daughter said.

After graduation, she went to Sprott Shaw Business College with help from her brothers. One of them bought her a typewriter.

“Her first job was at a paint store under the Granville Street bridge, and she used her first paycheque to buy shoes for her mother,” Sally said.

In July 1941, she married Charlie Estlin in the front yard of her eldest brother’s front yard. Charlie was with the B.C. Police, stationed in Burnaby. They had two daughters, Sally and Judy.

Esmée’s mother also often lived with the family and was able to help with child care.

• READ ABOUT MARY: Langley woman turns 105 on Oct. 25

In 1948, the family moved to Victoria where Charlie had been transferred to a more senior position in the governmental office. But in 1949, the RCMP began taking over the BC Police. Charlie applied for and won a position as a Game Warden in Courtenay and the family moved again. Esmée went to work as a telephone operator and her mother watched the children.

In addition to the typical efforts of a wife of the era – a huge vegetable garden, hens, dogs, cats and a household, she sometimes helped tend to rescued wildlife.

“Bear cubs, fawns, and cougar cubs were sent to the game warden’s home when loggers or hunters accidentally killed the mothers. Esmée fed them all till they were transported to a zoo or wildlife farm,” Sally explained.

The family enjoyed water sports in the summer and skiing in winter.

Then came another move, off to Nelson where Charlie was now the Game Inspector for the East and West Kootenays. Esmée went to work as a secretary for Inland Gas, and bought a horse for 12-year-old Judy.

“One day Esmée while working, heard a knock at the back door of the InlandGas office, opened it to see a horse’s head! Her daughter had ridden a horse right downtown Nelson and popped in for a visit! Streets were quieter in those days,” Sally said.

After Charlie earned a private pilot’s licence, the family took to the skies.

In 1962, Charlie had been promoted to chief conservation officer for the province and they were back to Victoria again. Esmée went to work first in a ship-building office and then in a ship museum.

She learned to skate and joined a group of ladies who skated twice weekly in the mornings and swam in the afternoons. She continued gardening and skiing and flying and boating, and supervised an extension to their house to hold a family party after daughter Judy‘s wedding in 1966. She and Charlie flew her daughter Sally to join Sally’s new husband in Idaho. Then another big trip: She and Charlie joined another couple to fly their two small planes to Bermuda for a holiday, an exciting adventure that led the two couples to plan another one: fly their own planes to Expo 67 in Montreal, according to their daughter.

They didn’t just get around in the air. They also enjoyed boating in various vessels, upgrading to one with a diesel engine large enough for the family to sleep aboard.

“Esmée rented out their house for six weeks so they could live aboard the boat for six weeks each summer and travel the waters from Victoria to Desolation Sound,” Sally added.

Each February, Esmée would rent hotel rooms in Vernon for all of February so the family could do endless skiing at Silver Star. As a senior, her pass was free.

She and Charlie retired to Metchosin after she found a little house on 10 acres.

In 2004, Charlie died.

She was alone on the acreage but still had her large garden.

“She bought her own small chainsaw to continue using her wood stove to cook many meals,” Sally said.

.


Got a news tip?

Email: heather.colpitts@langleyadvancetimes.com
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

 

Esmée Estlin skied most of her life. She resumed skiing at 86 and only stopped at 92. She recently marked her 100th birthday. (Estlin family photo

Esmée Estlin skied most of her life. She resumed skiing at 86 and only stopped at 92. She recently marked her 100th birthday. (Estlin family photo

Just Posted

A Langley high school teacher was handed a one-day suspension for ‘physically intimidating’ Grade 7 student during a basketball game in February of 2016 (Black Press Media file)
Langley high school teacher gets one-day suspension for ‘physically intimidating’ Grade 7 student

Lost his temper because student was using football terms as a joke during basketball game

A homeless couple nap on a Langley City bench in 2018. According to new stats, the number of homeless who live outdoors is on the rise in the City and Township. (Langley Advance Times file)
More homeless are sleeping outdoors in Langley than ever, study finds

Number of ‘unsheltered’ is up 26 per cent from previous count in 2017

Township of Langley firefighters wore protective masks at a Nov. 17, 2020 call to a burning van incident (Dan Ferguson/Langley Advance Times)
Langley Township tightens COVID safety rules following fire department outbreak

Among other measures, firefighters are keeping physically separate during shift changes

Langley School District is warning the families of Peter Ewart Middle School of a possible COVID-19 exposure. (Joti Grewal/Langley Advance Times)
Peter Ewart Middle added to list of COVID school exposures

An individual with COVID-19 was at the school on Nov. 26 and 27

A tongue-in-cheek message about wearing a face mask to curb the spread of COVID-19 on a sign outside a church near Royal Columbia Hospital, in New Westminster, B.C., on Sunday, Nov. 29, 2020. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Darryl Dyck
B.C.’s COVID-19 infection count climbs back up to 656

20 more people in hospital, active cases still rising

An RCMP cruiser looks on as a military search and rescue helicopter winds down near Bridesville, B.C. Tuesday, Dec. 1. Photo courtesy of RCMP Cpl. Jesse O’Donaghey
B.C. Mountie, suspect airlifted by Canadian Armed Forces from ravine after foot chase

Military aircraft were dispatched from Comox, B.C., say RCMP

Photo by Dale Klippenstein
Suspect tries to thwart police in Abbotsford with false 911 call about men with guns

Man twice sped away from officers and then tried to throw them off his trail

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A logo for Netflix on a remote control is seen in Portland, Ore.,Aug. 13, 2020. Experts in taxation and media say a plan announced Monday by the government will ultimately add to the cost of digital services and goods sold by foreign companies. THE CANADIAN PRESS/AP-Jenny Kane
‘Netflix tax’ for digital media likely to raise prices for consumers, experts say

The government says Canadian companies already collect those taxes when they make digital sales

BIG SALMON ranch in Washington State. (Center for Whale Research handout)
Non-profit buys Chinook ranch in hopes of increasing feed for southern resident killer whales

The ranch, which borders both sides of Washington State’s Elwha River, is a hotspot for chinook salmon

Gaming content was big on YouTube in 2020. (Black Press Media files)
What did Canadians watch on Youtube during isolation? Workouts, bird feeders

Whether it was getting fit or ‘speaking moistly,’ Canadians had time to spare this year

(Needpix.com)
Fraudsters projected to use pet scams to gouge over $3M from customers: BBB

The pandemic heavily contributed to the number of puppy scams

Elgin Wynd resident Ian Tyzzer says encroaching development is threatening the home and breeding ground of an endangered pigeon species. (Alex Browne photo)
Endangered pigeon habitat threatened by Surrey development, residents fear

Elgin Wynd strata owners fear it’s too late to save trees where band-tailed pigeons roost

Most Read