Born in the Stettler area 100 years ago, Rex Shuckburgh became the latest centenarian as friends and family honoured him last Saturday.
Shuckburgh was born March 28, 1913, just four years after his parents William and Dorothy Shuckburgh settled west of Stettler from England.
“I feel so good, I could go out and do a day’s stooking,” Shuckburgh said in an interview with the Stettler Independent at his home in Paragon Place, where he moved to 10 years ago after 90 years of life on the farm.
“I really had a good life — I’ve always been healthy,” said Shuckburgh, who wore a novelty button that stated “I’ve survived damn near everything.”
Born as the third child in the family of eight children, he and his late wife June raised two children and he now has two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren, who were among those who celebrated the milestone.
“It was a hell of a crowd,” said Shuckburgh, always with a ready and wide smile.
“I saw lots of people who I hadn’t seen for many years.”
His younger brother Trevor travelled all the way from Victoria, B.C., for the day to celebrate and reflect.
Shuckburgh was born on the family farm now on the western border of the Town of Stettler on the farm now operated by nephew Bill and Lillian Kirtley.
That’s where he spent and enjoyed his life.
“I could do most anything,” said Shuckburgh, who seemed to live a worry-free life.
“He told somebody the other day that he never worried about anything,” said his son Doug.
As a student of Silver Prairie School about three miles northwest of Stettler, he walked to school every day, a round trip of five miles.
“I used to fire the furnace at the school when the janitor went for lunch,” Shuckburgh said. “The brick school building was colder than old hell.
“I went to work after Grade 8 for $15 a month. I would stook 75 acres.”
Farming was the life for the senior.
“I went to work when after I farmed with my brother Leo for 40 years,” from 1933 to 1973, he said.
That was the same mixed farm of 16 quarters with six or seven Jersey cows he remembers milking in his youth, along with pigs, chickens and turkeys and fields of grain.
Life was pretty simple, even before the days of power and technology.
“One of the greatest things to come to the farm were rubber tires on tractors and combines, and round balers,” Shuckburgh said.
“We didn’t get electricity until 1949. People were brought up without it, and they just keep their butter and milk down the well.”
Even without power, he said the 1940s were the best times for him and the farm as the economy started to rebound after the Great Depression of the 1930s.
“Grain prices started to go and make farming more prosperous again,” Shuckburgh said.
As the Stettler community continued to grow and boom, he became active in service clubs.
Shuckburgh was a founding member of the Kinsmen Club of Stettler, which chartered in 1946 and then he graduated to the K-40 Club about 10 years later.
In the mid-1970s, Shuckburgh joined the Rotary Club of Stettler, where he was active until the late 1980s.
Although he never served any executive positions, he was a loyal servant.
“I’m just a worker,” said Shuckburgh, who was also a good supporter of social activities at Simon’s RV.
Still alert and with a strong mind, he remains eager to share stories and ideas of a life full of changes and progress, along with struggles and lessons learned along the way.