‘Precious’ great-great grandma celebrates 100 years

Beatrice McIntyre and daughter Dianne Thompson smile behind a photo of their old Ridgetown family home and business, and McIntyre gears up to celebrate her 100th birthday. (Jenna Cocullo / Chatham Voice)

By Jenna Cocullo, Local Journalism Initiative

Beatrice McIntyre humbly treats her birthday like any other day, even when she is marking her 100th year.

“Oh I don’t feel any different. Was I supposed to feel any different,” she said.

Although McIntyre doesn’t care much for celebrations, her daughter, Dianne Thompson, is ensuring she is celebrated.

After McIntyre’s dinner at the casino and horse drawn carriage ride was cancelled due to the second lockdown, Thompson decided to ask 100 people – from family, friends, old colleagues, and friends of friends – to mail her mom a happy birthday card.

“She’s just precious,” Thompson said.

McIntyre was born in Croton on Jan. 8, 1921 and remained in the municipality for the better part of a century.

She attended elementary school in Florence, and moved on to high school in Ridgetown. Back in the day, she rode by horse to and from school.

McIntyre then fell in love with a man named Archie McIntyre who was serving in the air force.

In 1952, the couple opened up McKellar & McIntyre Funeral Home (now McKinlay) in Ridgetown.

They were married for 68 years until Archie passed away.

“We looked after each other and we got along. That’s all,” said McIntyre on a successful marriage.

The couple had three kids together; Dianne and her two older brothers Gerald and Ronald. McIntyre is the matriarch of five generations – or as she likes to put it, too many people to count. She has lived to see the birth of her six grandchildren, seven great-grandchildren, and three great-great grandchildren.

McIntyre played the organ at their Ridgetown funeral home, where the family was also living at the time.

She then moved on to becoming a florist, switched jobs to Cedar Springs Hospital School as a switchboard operator and was later retrained as an electroencephalogram (EEG) technician.

She also joined the Rebecca Lodge in 1947, serving as a member for 73 years. In 1988-89 she was elected president of the Rebekah Assembly of Ontario.

“I picked up a job wherever I could find one. And I learned that part,” McIntyre said.

Thompson describes her mom as a social butterfly to which McIntyre responded, “I didn’t know I flew around like that.”

Thompson also said her mom loves to play cards.

“But I don’t like to be beat,” McIntyre interrupted.

McIntyre has enjoyed retirement since 1985. She loves to spend her free time praying, playing at the casino, and she lives right above Thompson so the two can spend their afternoons chatting away.

“She is just so precious to us and we are so grateful to have her this long. I am very proud of her, both my brothers and I love her to death,” Thompson said.

Beatrice McIntyre poses in front of her collection of birthday cards. Daughter Dianne Thompson asked 100 people, from family to old colleagues, to send well wishes on to her mom for the special day. (Jenna Cocullo / Chatham Voice)




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