B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Constance Isherwood is presented a birthday cake with a 100 candles on top by Oak Bay fire fighter Jason Ahokas. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Constance Isherwood is presented a birthday cake with a 100 candles on top by Oak Bay fire fighter Jason Ahokas. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Oak Bay firefighter Jason Ahokas and son, George, help 100-year-old Constance Isherwood blow out all the candles on her birthday cake. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Oak Bay firefighter Jason Ahokas and son, George, help 100-year-old Constance Isherwood blow out all the candles on her birthday cake. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood says be approachable, and let others come to you so you can help them. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Constance Isherwood says be approachable, and let others come to you so you can help them. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood raises her glass of sherry at her 100th birthday party on Thursday at the Penny Farthing Public House in Oak Bay. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)Constance Isherwood raises her glass of sherry at her 100th birthday party on Thursday at the Penny Farthing Public House in Oak Bay. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A 100th birthday party is no small milestone and for Constance Isherwood, the province’s oldest practising lawyer, the secret to her success is pretty simple.

“Keep breathing,” she says, with a smile just before a massive birthday day cake with 100 lit candles was brought out by Oak Bay firefighters. “Nobody in this world is really living today unless they’re breathing and what that means is look after yourself and your health.”

Surrounded by family and friends at Penny Farthing Public House, Isherwood offered a few more words of advice that she’s learned throughout the years.

RELATED: Meet B.C.’s oldest practicing lawyer

“Keep working, you’ve got to keep at it,” she says. “And keep smiling … you’ve got to have a positive attitude, don’t let things get you down.”

Isherwood started law school the same year the first Polaroid Camera went on sale. She’s been practicing law for the past 69 years. She says that while she gets the question a lot, she answers “maybe next year” she’ll retire.

“But when you get to be 100, you don’t know how many next years they’re going to be so maybe I’ll start winding down a bit now but … I’ve enjoyed the work and I’ve enjoyed the people.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria cop, firefighters rescue man trapped headfirst as well fills with water

Isherwood says that while she hasn’t gone to court for a while since the process has been “streamlined,” she remembers the feeling of being able to help those who needed it. The family lawyer recalls the feeling she would get when an adoption was complete.

“The parents seemed so grateful — it’s the realization of a dream for them — and that’s one thing I always remember, the way they seemed to be so grateful for the work,” she says.

But the biggest piece of advice Isherwood has to offer, is the same message she told the University of British Columbia graduating law students when she received an honorary doctorate, where she graduated from more than 69 years ago.

“Be approachable,” she says. “Let them come to you and then you can help them, that’s a good recipe.”

— With files from Arnold Lim



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Lawyers

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

Just Posted

People have noticed pine siskins dying in the area, part of a trend of larger numbers of the finch flocking to the area about every five years. The larger numbers result in crowding and increased spread of salmonella. (Wikipedia photo)
Langley birdwatchers seeing dead finch species in higher numbers

Pine siskins are in the area in larger numbers. They are prone to salmonella which is fatal for them

Electric charging stations, like this one outside the new North Delta Centre for the Arts, might be seeing more commercial delivery vehicles using them soon, if a provincial rebate program takes off. (James Smith photo/Special to Black Press Media)
Restaurants to get big rebates for electric delivery vehicles

The project boosts the rebates for electric commercial and industrial vehicles in B.C.

The CubicFarm System moves rows of leafy greens through a system calibrated to grow the perfect crop. (cubicfarms.com)
Veritcal farm company based in Pitt Meadows, Langley raises millions

The company has raised more than $15 million from investors

Langley Thunder (Black Press Media files)
Langley Thunder trades for Maple Ridge’s Cody Malawsky

BC Junior A Lacrosse League draft was held remotely on Thursday, Jan. 14

A woman uses her computer keyboard to type while surfing the internet in North Vancouver, B.C. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Township of Langley says coding matters

Registration open for virtual codathon hosted in conjunction with the Intelligent Community Forum

Health Minister Adrian Dix and provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry head for the press theatre at the B.C. legislature for an update on COVID-19, Jan. 7, 2021. (B.C. government)
B.C.’s COVID-19 spread steady with 509 new cases Friday

Hospitalized and critical care cases decline, nine deaths

Seasonal influenza vaccine is administered starting each fall in B.C. and around the world. (Langley Advance Times)
After 30,000 tests, influenza virually nowhere to be found in B.C.

COVID-19 precautions have eliminated seasonal infection

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau listens to a question during a news conference outside Rideau cottage in Ottawa, Friday, January 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Adrian Wyld
Trudeau says Canada’s COVID vaccine plan on track despite Pfizer cutting back deliveries

Canadian officials say country will still likely receive four million doses by the end of March

Jobs Minister Ravi Kahlon shared a handwritten note his son received on Jan. 13, 2021. (Ravi Kahlon/Twitter)
Proud dad moment: B.C. minister’s son, 10, receives handwritten note for act of kindness

North Delta MLA took to Twitter to share a letter his son received from a new kid at school

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

Lilly and Poppy, two cats owned by Kalmar Cat Hotel ownder Donna Goodenough, both have cerebellAr hypoplasia, a genetic neurological condition that affects their ability to control their muscles and bones. Photo by Alistair Taylor – Campbell River Mirror
VIDEO: Wobbly Cats a riot of flailing legs and paws but bundles of love and joy to their owner

Woman urges others to not fear adopting cats with disabilities

Chief public health officer Dr. Theresa Tam provides an update on the COVID-19 pandemic in Ottawa on Friday, Jan. 8, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Canada’s top doctor says to avoid non-essential travel as B.C. explores legal options

Premier John Horgan says he is seeking legal advice on whether it can limit interprovincial travel

The Delta Hospice Society operates the Harold & Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care (pictured) and the Irene Thomas Hospice in Ladner. (The Canadian Press photo)
Fraser Health to evict Delta Hospice Society, open new hospice beds next door

Health authority will serve DHS 30 days’ notice when service agreement expires Feb. 25

Martin Luther King Jr. addresses the crowd during the march on Washington, D.C., in August of 1963. Courtesy photo
Government reinforces importance of anti-racism act on Black Shirt Day

B.C. Ministers say education “a powerful tool” in the fight for equity and equality

Most Read