Kelowna Second World War veteran set to mark his 102nd birthday on Remembrance Day

War vet turning 102

Cindy White

Orchard Gardens Seniors Community, on Gerstmar Road in Kelowna, will be paying tribute to a very special new resident this weekend. Not only is Paul Bray’s 102nd birthday on Remembrance Day, he’s also a Second World War veteran.

“He moved in on November 1st and I heard about him from my co-worker,” explains Homa Nassimdoost, activity manager at Orchard Gardens. “He told me this story about this really cool guy who had been working here in Kelowna for years and he used to be a farmer.”

She says he came to a car show at the seniors community, fell in love with the place and said he thought it was about time he moved in. She found out later than his birthday is on November 11.

Bray was born on a homestead in Meadowbrook, Alberta in 1921 and later moved to British Columbia.

He told Castanet that he joined what became the Royal Canadian Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1939. “I was in Vancouver when I joined up and I’ve been all the way across Canada and back again.”

He says he wasn’t posted to the front, because of an accident when he was about 11-years-old that left him without a left thumb. “So that I didn’t get overseas.

"Maybe it was a good thing. I’m not sure,” said Bray, who lived in the Lower Mainland for several years, before relocating to Winfield in the late 1990s.

While his birthday falls on a solemn anniversary, the staff at Orchard Gardens wants to make sure his longevity doesn’t go unrecognized.

"We're going to do a huge Remembrance event," says Nassimdoost. "but, after lunch I’m going to be providing all the residents with treats. And then we have a special guest coming to perform with bagpipes.

We’re going to honour him after their moment of silence. We will celebrate him as well.”

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