Local woman has seen plenty in her 94 years

 

Jo Bedard celebrates her 94th birthday with friends and, of course, a birthday cake last week. Although she grew up in lumber camps and had to take in boarders during her life to make ends meet, the Amherstburg resident has always found time to look for the good in everything.

Jo Bedard celebrates her 94th birthday with friends and, of course, a birthday cake last week. Although she grew up in lumber camps and had to take in boarders during her life to make ends meet, the Amherstburg resident has always found time to look for the good in everything.

By Ron Giofu

 

From playing in lumber camps to taking in boarders, Jo Bedard has seen a lot in her lifetime.

Bedard turned 94-years-old last Wednesday and celebrated with a small group of friends in her Amherstburg home. The birthday allowed her to reflect on her life and experiences that she has had.

“A lot of years have gone by and a lot of water has gone under the dam,” Bedard reflected.

Bedard played with the daughter of the doctor that delivered the Dionne quintuplets when she lived with her father in northern Ontario. The Pembroke-born Bedard saw her mother die in 1929 and she followed her father into the lumber camps before they moved to Windsor when she was a teenager.

“We went anywhere where we could find a job,” she said. “I was fourth youngest of 17 kids so it wasn’t easy.”

Bedard raised her family in Windsor and became a widow at age 32. One of her three sons owned a farm on County Road 50 for many years and she moved to Amherstburg in 2000 to be closer to him. Before coming to town, she recalled paying her bills at her Windsor home by taking in boarders, many of whom were police officers that had been transferred to the area.

“I bought a big house for next to nothing,” she said. “I filled it up with boarders. The boarders were a hoot. They were so much fun.”
She recalled some stayed four to a room. While there were challenges, including one period when she had a house filled with people with the measles, she enjoyed it overall.

“One fellow stayed for 17 years,” she said, adding that he called her on her 94th birthday. “Those young men were so kind. They used to cut the grass and paint the house.”

A grandmother of three and a great-grandmother of five, Bedard said she also became connected with Good Shepherd Lutheran Church upon moving to Amherstburg and said when the new church was built on Concession 3 North and Alma St., it was an exciting time.

“That was fun watching it grow up from the ground,” she said. “I just love that place. I feel I was a part of it.”

Wanting the church to have a dishwasher, she would make fruitcakes out of her condominium and they proved popular.

“They were selling right out of the oven,” she said.

That led to her even making fruitcakes at Christmas time for everyone on the floor.

Bedard said life hasn’t always been easy but she has tried to look for the bright side in everything.

“You just take each day as it comes,” she said. “I love to laugh and make everything fun. It’s been a hard life but it’s been a good life too. I still have fun and I’m 94.”

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