INNISFAIL – A century is a milestone to celebrate.
Innisfail’s Irena Hagel marked her 100th birthday on Nov. 18 with an open house celebration with family and friends.
“I feel not too bad. I shouldn’t complain because it’s my 100th birthday,” said Hagel, noting how pleased she was to see so many family, friends and well-wishers for the celebration in the hall at Our Lady of Peace Catholic Church “I’m more than happy. There is a nice crowd here.”
Born in Carbon in 1917, she moved to Beiseker and married Clement Hagel at 21, and they raised four children. Clement passed away in 1955 and Hagel never remarried. She moved to Innisfail in 2002.
Today Hagel has 13 grandchildren and 16 great-grandchildren.
Alana Gibson is one of Hagel’s grandchildren who was in attendance at the open house. She said it was a special day for her 100-year-old grandmother.
“We had a lunch with about 50 of us today for the family and an open house this afternoon,” said Gibson. “It’s a fantastic turnout. There are lots of faces from Beiseker where she spent the majority of her life and lots of people have made the trip from Calgary as well.
“She’s doing pretty good for her age,” she added.
Hagel grew up with five siblings, four brothers and one sister. She was a farmer who worked long hours and raised a family, much on her own.
“She had quite a hard life. Her husband passed away very young,” said Gibson. “She had four young children to raise and never remarried.”
Gibson credits her grandmother’s longevity to her hard-working attitude and determination.
“I think part of it is in the genes. Her mother lived to 105,” explained Gibson. “Part of it is the good, hard-working lifestyle she had. She was a good, hard-working farmer.”
Gibson said she and the family were happy to see support from friends, old neighbours and the community here in Innisfail.
“It’s amazing,” said Gibson. “To see her with all of these friends and family that love her so much. She’s obviously made an impact on a lot of people.”
Alana Gibson, grandaughter
“Part of it is the good, hard- working lifestyle she had. She was a good, hard- working farmer.”