South Peace News
Longtime High Prairie resident Sylvester Shantz celebrated his 90th birthday with family and friends.
Shantz was honoured at a reception Jan. 11 at High Prairie Bethel Baptist Church.
Looking back, he is blessed to reach 90.
“I thought if I made it to 65, I would be lucky,” Shantz says.
“But people are living longer now.”
He remains strong and active for his age.
“I feel great,” Shantz says.
“I hope to live many more years in good health.”
Shantz celebrated the milestone with his wife Anne, son Derek Shantz, of Grande Prairie, and daughter Patricia Shantz, of Edmonton, four of his five grandchildren and friends.
He was born Jan. 11, 1930 in High Prairie, the only child of John and Mary Shantz on the family farm homestead five mile west of High Prairie on a cold night with temperatures of -40F [also -40C].
He graduated from high school in High Prairie in 1948.
Everyday, he walked one mile to catch a horse-drawn school wagon to go to school.
After that, Shantz enrolled in an agricultural mechanics course in Calgary at SAIT.
He worked in Vancouver at a sawmill for a few years before he returned to work on his parents’ farm.
Shantz served as manager of the McLennan Co-op grocery store, High Prairie Co-op and The Hudson Bay.
He married Anne Litwin on July 28, 1956 in High Prairie at St. Mark’s Anglican Church.
The couple operated a confectionary store called Syl’s Confectionery in downtown High Prairie for 11 years, from 1966-77.
“When Syl went to get a business licence from the Town of High Prairie, he had to get permission from the businesses in town to open a store,” his wife Anne Shantz writes in a brief biography.
The next convenience store that opened in High Prairie didn’t need to get permission from other businesses.
Syl’s Confectionery was the first confectionary store in High Prairie to open on Sundays and late into the evenings.
Syl Shantz loved working in the store and greeting all the people who came in.
His parents also loved to work there.
He still continued to farm, growing barley and canola on his parents’ farm.
After that, Shantz worked for the Town of High Prairie in the gas department.
He was also a trained ambulance driver and drove many patients to Grande Prairie and Edmonton.
Shantz retired from farming in 1993 and has rented his land since.
He and his wife have five grandchildren; Christine Shantz, Nathaniel Shantz, Cameron Alexander, Travis Alexander and Jacob Alexander.