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Tony turns 103

Liz Craig

Dozens of people gathered Saturday at the Village at Smith Creek to wish West Kelowna's Tony Gross a happy 103rd birthday.

Between naps, the 103-year-old smiled at party-goers and accepted well-wishes from friends and family.

Nephew Errol Indergaard traveled from Calgary to take part in the festivities.

"I wasn't able to make it last year, but I told him I'd be here for his 103rd!" he said. " I just told him I was here and he was really quite pleased about it."

He explained his uncle was an accomplished musician in his younger years playing the accordion and all sorts of other instruments, as well as playing in a dance band with his wife Florence.

Tony and Florence moved from Lethbridge to the Okanagan in 1969. 

They did all sorts of jobs including orchard work, and catering, but Florence explained their passion was music and they were regulars in the local music scene.

"We really enjoyed all the years we played. We played all around the country and locally - Kootenays, Vernon, Revelstoke. We used to play every Friday night at the legion in Peachland, as well as in Rutland regularly"

She was pleased to see so many people, including acting West Kelowna mayor David Knowles, turn out to celebrate the big day with a rousing rendition of Happy Birthday.

As for her theory on the secret to his long life...

 "The genes in their family! His eldest sibling, she lived to just ten days short of 105."

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