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

Victoria’s 75,000 veggie plants ready to find a home

New gardeners line-up for Get Growing Victoria

Vancouver Island hasn’t seen a new homegrown case of COVID-19 in two weeks

Island’s low and steady transmission rate chalked up to several factors

Homeless shelter at Save-On-Foods Memorial Centre creates 40 jobs

The arena can house 45 people in pop-up pods

Bears spotted near Saanich lake spooked by police, wandered off

Bear, cub not seen over weekend but police ask residents to be on alert

Vote for your favourite Peninsula businesses

Voting extended for annual Readers’ Choice Awards

B.C. mom’s drug-pricing petition on behalf of son garners thousands of signatures

Petition geared to gaining access to new medicines drew support of Chilliwack-Hope MP Mark Strahl

‘Paralyzed by fear’: B.C. woman details anxiety, grief at Italian relief hospital

Sheila Vicic spent two months in Italy as the country grappled with COVID-19

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

The COVID-19 pandemic has changed the world in ways that would have… Continue reading

Dr. Bonnie Henry given new name in B.C. First Nation ceremony: ‘one who is calm among us’

The provincial health officer was honoured in a May 22 ceremony at elementary school in Hazelton

CAMH survey looks at binge-drinking, financial anxiety during COVID

Alcohol may be used as a coping mechanism for those whose careers may have been sidelined due to the pandemic

Half of Canadians say governments are hiding something about COVID-19: poll

More than a third of people believe the virus was created in a lab

Dump truck in Nanaimo snags power lines, snaps hydro pole, crashes

No injuries in incident Monday morning on Old Victoria Road

Ferry sailings scheduled once again at Nanaimo’s Departure Bay terminal

BC Ferries announces that resumption of service June 3 includes four daily round trips

Most Read