Long-time Aldergrove residents Leona and Vic Spooner got to celebrate their 71st wedding anniversary together April 9, triumphing over recent challenges including a heart attack and a pandemic that’s kept them in isolation. (Carolyn Holt photo)

B.C. grandpa beats heart attack amid COVID-19 to celebrate 71st wedding anniversary

Leona and Vic Spooner, both 91, were recently reunited after weeks in hospital

Aldergrove lovebirds Leona, 91, and Vic, 91, held hands as they sat in lawn chairs on their front yard on April 9, metres apart from their adult children to prevent the spread of COVID-19.

That Thursday was a socially distant night of celebration for the senior couple, their family, and a tight-knit community of neighbours who have looked out for them during a global pandemic.

It marked the 71st year that the Spooners, Aldergrove residents for 30 years and great-grandparents, have been married.

The duo was surprised with dinner from their adult children, who had not seen their parents in weeks while in self-isolation.

The reunion was something their neighbours might never have thought possible just five weeks ago, when Vic suffered a heart attack and was whisked away to Langley Memorial Hospital.

“And now they’re celebrating,” neighbour Carolyn Holt said with awe.

“You can’t keep a good man down,” Vic quipped, to a driveway full of laughter.

“He’s been fun to live with,” his wife retorted.

While Vic was in hospital, neighbours, including Holt and Vicki Waterman, called Leona every day to check up on her.

“They phone and I keep thinking, what do I need now?” she said, explaining they keep her well-stocked with groceries while she self-isolates to prevent exposure to the coronavirus.

“They’ve just been wonderful,” she said about her neighbours.

READ MORE: Smiling 98 year old inspires new ways to connect at Langley hospital

Two days prior, one of them brought her a bouquet of balloons for their soon-to-be anniversary.

“This is the greatest neighbourhood,” Vic said.

The charming couple first met when they were sixteen.

It all started because of a ruler, Vic chuckled.

They were teenagers in the same class after Leona – who had only ever lived in an all-girls convent – moved to Burnaby and attended the same public school as him.

“I saw this little skinny guy,” Leona recalled, “And I said, can I borrow your ruler?”

After marrying at the age of 20, with birthdays just ten days apart, Leona fostered nearly a dozen newborns.

“Back in those days you had babies in your care for two years before they would be adopted by families in Langley,” she explained. “You couldn’t adopt them yourself.”

“She collected kids and I collected air miles,” Vic teased, later explaining that many of the kids came back to visit Leona throughout the years, as they grew older.

Vic volunteered as an auxiliary RCMP officer for 18 years in Langley after retiring from a career as a globe-trotting cinematographer at age 61.

READ MORE: Elderly couple reunited after two years

The last film Vic worked on was If These Walls Could Speak in 1965, which explored the mysteries behind well-known human folklore in locations around the globe.

“It took me to 48 countries in 18 months,” Vic said.

But nothing was ever as enjoyable as his time with the RCMP.

“I wanted to be active in the community,” he emphasized.

When asked what their secret to a long marriage is, Vic responded “communication.”

“Don’t argue and fight, just discuss,” he added, wishing aloud for another 20 years of life.

“You used to say 90 years old was your goal. So now you have a new goal,” his daughter chimed in.

“I’ve got another two good years in me anyway,” he smiled.

“I’m counting on it,” his wife nudged.

“It all worked out, I’ve had a wonderful, wonderful life with a wonderful, wonderful wife,” Vic melodized.

CoronavirusRelationships

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

Just Posted

Provincial COVID-19 data can now be used for B.C. to prepare for a second wave

In the past week, B.C. has seen a slight spike in daily test-positive case counts

Four air ambulance flights out of Terrace delayed or cancelled

Pandemic precautions caused nighttime closure of service station providing weather data to pilots

Skeena Resources, Tahltan prez excited by purchase of Eskay Creek

Skeena gets full control of mine, Barrick gets 12 per cent of Skeena and a one per cent royalty

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

CityWest announces new CEO

Stefan Woloszyn will start Aug. 17 to head up Prince Rupert, Kitimat, Terrace and Smithers region

Islanders want BC Ferries to follow order that lets residents board before tourists

For ferry-dependent communities, ferries are often the sole practical lifeline to work, school or medical appointments.

Beverly Hills 90210 star’s family selling Vancouver Island Beach Resort

You can own Jason Priestley’s Terrace Beach Resort in Ucluelet for less than $5 million

Genetic detectives begin work to trace spread of COVID-19 in Canada

The kinds of genetic technology being used for this project did not exist when SARS hit Canada in 2003

Sports fishers protest Fraser River Chinook closures

Public Fishery Alliance wants hatchery fish open for harvest

Amber Alert for two Quebec girls cancelled after bodies found

Romy Carpentier, 6, Norah Carpentier, 11, and their father, Martin Carpentier, missing since Wednesday

B.C. man prepares to be first to receive double-hand transplant in Canada

After the surgery, transplant patients face a long recovery

Grocers appear before MPs to explain decision to cut pandemic pay

Executives from three of Canada’s largest grocery chains have defended their decision to end temporary wage increases

Bringing support to Indigenous students and communities, while fulfilling a dream

Mitacs is a nonprofit organization that operates research and training programs

Most Read