Her legacy of kindness

Kamloops senior, who died at 104, remembered by friends and family this weekend

CATHERINE LITT / Kamloops Daily News
January 30, 2013 01:00 AM

Olive Wain lifts a hat to unveil a marker for Meryl Matthews roses in the gardens at Pine Grove Lodge in June 2012.

Some of us dream of living a long life. Others dream of living a happy life.

Olive Wain was lucky enough to live both.

The Kamloops senior, who may have been the city's oldest resident, died on Jan. 5 at the age of 104 and will be remembered by friends and family this weekend as a woman whose kindness and purity of heart was unrivaled.

"She was the nicest lady I've ever met," said friend Doreen Chalmers.

"She loved people. She always said that's why she lived so long - because she enjoyed people."

Chalmers is one of many people who will celebrate Wain's life on Saturday at St. Paul's Anglican Cathedral on Nicola Street.

"She was such a rare person. She was," said Janice Fagg, who is married to Wain's nephew, Ron.

"We were so lucky to have had her for the length of time we did."

Longtime Kamloops residents will remember Wain as the sister-in-law and best friend of the late Meryl Matthews, a former City councillor and school board trustee. They were best pals and were often photographed together in The Daily News. After Matthews died in 2010 at Pine Grove extended care home, Wain helped unveil a rose in her friend's memory.

Wain was an avid gardener, said her niece, and tended to the flowers at her Battle Street home for most of the 70 years she lived there.

Born in England on Dec. 22, 1908, Olive Mary Fagg arrived in Canada with her mother and two brothers in 1918.

She graduated from Kam High a few years later and spent 37 years working at the old Woolworths department store on Victoria Street. She married Albert Wain and had a son, Stuart, who died in 2010.

It was around the same time of her son's death that her frailty started to show. Wain's family got her respite care, but after an accidental fall, she was admitted to Pine Grove for treatment, where she would live out her remaining months happily playing bingo and taking visits from family and friends.

Wain rarely spoke about the finality of ageing, said Janice. Instead, she focused mostly on the blessings of a long life.

Yet, in November, a month before she was to turn 104, there were hints that maybe the end was closer than anyone imagined.

Wain's nephew Albert asked her what she thought about her birthday approaching.

"So, you're going to be 104!" he said proudly, before adding playfully, "What about 105?"

Janice recounted the story on Tuesday.

She said Wain thought for a moment before responding with, "Well, I haven't really decided that yet."

It was a sign, said Janice. Wain had lived a good life; she was happy. And she was ready.

The Wednesday before she died, 104-year-old Olive Wain lied down on her bed at Pine Grove and closed her eyes. She remained peacefully unresponsive for three days as family members took turns at her bedside, holding her hand, talking to her, whispering in her ear how much they loved her and that it was OK if she needed to go.

Wain died the following Saturday, as serenely as any of them could have hoped for, said Janice.

Her celebration of life is set for 1:30 p.m. this Saturday. All are welcome.

© Copyright 2015 Kamloops Daily News

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