It seems fitting that if you’re born on May 5 – Cinco de Mayo – you should celebrate with a drink.
Maybe even two. Especially when it’s a milestone birthday.
That was the plan for Vernon’s May Victoria Pearl Taylor (née Donis) as Tuesday, May 5, was the celebration of her 100th birthday.
“She said she was going to get drunk tonight,” laughed her granddaughter, Sharmay Taylor, one of a handful of relatives on hand at Vernon’s Canada Safeway to celebrate the centennial birthday.
Safeway manager Stan Parker not only presented May with flowers and a cake the birthday girl said she intended to eat all by herself, but he also serenaded Taylor over the store’s P.A. system with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.
She also received a free coffee from Starbucks and gifts and cards from family, who kept the required distance in these times of social distancing.
“She’s pretty sweet,” said Sharmay of her 100-year-old grandmother. “She’s got a crude sense of humour, but she’s always entertaining.”
May Victoria Pearl Donis was born May 5, 1920, in Smoky River, Alta., the river being a major tributary of the Peace River, in the province’s northern region.
Five months past her 18th birthday, Donis married Reuben Taylor in October 1938 and the couple lived in Pouce Coupe, on the B.C. side just before the Alberta border.
The couple took over the Donis General Store and Hotel in Fort St. John in 1940, adding the name Taylor to the Taylor and Donis General Store. Reuben managed the store, May managed the hotel.
They moved to Armstrong in 1946, where they owned and operated a billiard hall and café, then moved to Vernon in 1950.
That same year, the couple’s third child, a daughter, Carmen Anna Mae, was born, joining older brothers Allyn John (1940) and Dennis Carl (1946).
The Taylors packed up and moved back north to Fort St. John in 1956. May managed a motel on the Pouce Highway while Reuben learned the glass and paint business.
The pair returned to Vernon in 1961 with May working at the telephone office and Reuben driving taxi. In 1967, Taylor purchased Capital Taxi and operated it until his death in 1972.
In 1969, May Taylor met the love of her life, a gentleman named Marcel Pruden, who remains her partner 51 years later. The pair live in a Vernon apartment where Marcel dotes on his century-old bride.
“He loves May so much and takes such good care of her,” said Sharmay Taylor. “He massages her feet, paints her nails, does her toes. All of May’s family is grateful for the love that he has and the care that he provides to May.”
While she and Marcel were living in Saskatchewan (2001-14), May suffered a stroke in 2014 in Radisson. Marcel performed CPR waiting for medical help after May’s heart had stopped. She was airlifted to a hospital in Saskatoon, where she spent five days.
The couple made the decision to move to Vernon to be closer to Taylor’s family.
Taylor has two surviving children (Allyn died in 2014), five grandchildren (Kevin, Mayette, Jason, Judd and Sharmay, though Judd died in 2015) and eight great-grandkids (Brock, Madison, Stuart, Amanda, Alannah, Logan, Phoenix, and Sophie).