B.C.’s oldest practising lawyer celebrates 100th birthday, shares advice

Constance Isherwood is presented a birthday cake with a 100 candles on top by Oak Bay fire fighter Jason Ahokas. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Oak Bay firefighter Jason Ahokas and son, George, help 100-year-old Constance Isherwood blow out all the candles on her birthday cake. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood says be approachable, and let others come to you so you can help them. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)
Constance Isherwood raises her glass of sherry at her 100th birthday party on Thursday at the Penny Farthing Public House in Oak Bay. (Kendra Crighton/News Staff)

A 100th birthday party is no small milestone and for Constance Isherwood, the province’s oldest practising lawyer, the secret to her success is pretty simple.

“Keep breathing,” she says, with a smile just before a massive birthday day cake with 100 lit candles was brought out by Oak Bay firefighters. “Nobody in this world is really living today unless they’re breathing and what that means is look after yourself and your health.”

Surrounded by family and friends at Penny Farthing Public House, Isherwood offered a few more words of advice that she’s learned throughout the years.

RELATED: Meet B.C.’s oldest practicing lawyer

“Keep working, you’ve got to keep at it,” she says. “And keep smiling … you’ve got to have a positive attitude, don’t let things get you down.”

Isherwood started law school the same year the first Polaroid Camera went on sale. She’s been practicing law for the past 69 years. She says that while she gets the question a lot, she answers “maybe next year” she’ll retire.

“But when you get to be 100, you don’t know how many next years they’re going to be so maybe I’ll start winding down a bit now but … I’ve enjoyed the work and I’ve enjoyed the people.”

READ ALSO: Greater Victoria cop, firefighters rescue man trapped headfirst as well fills with water

Isherwood says that while she hasn’t gone to court for a while since the process has been “streamlined,” she remembers the feeling of being able to help those who needed it. The family lawyer recalls the feeling she would get when an adoption was complete.

“The parents seemed so grateful — it’s the realization of a dream for them — and that’s one thing I always remember, the way they seemed to be so grateful for the work,” she says.

But the biggest piece of advice Isherwood has to offer, is the same message she told the University of British Columbia graduating law students when she received an honorary doctorate, where she graduated from more than 69 years ago.

“Be approachable,” she says. “Let them come to you and then you can help them, that’s a good recipe.”

— With files from Arnold Lim



kendra.crighton@blackpress.ca

Follow us on Instagram
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Lawyers

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Column: Grade school students don’t have a voice during COVID pandemic

As adults weigh pros and cons of returning kids to school, is anyone asking kids what they think?

SLIDESHOW: Chilliwack firefighters battle large blaze at Rosedale chicken barn Friday

Majority of birds saved but buildings on Castleman Road destroyed by fire

Chilliwack Fair kicks off tonight with local talent

Todd Richard and Appaloosa to hit the stage for drive-in concert at fairgrounds

VIDEO: Chilliwack chicken barn destroyed by fire

Chickens saved from blaze as firefighters work to control large fire

QUIZ: Do you know the truth?

In what has been described as a post-truth era, how much do you know about truth and lies?

Fraser Valley Bandits fall to Edmonton in CEBL final

Bandits lose 90-73 to Stingers in Sunday’s Summer Series final

Simon Cowell breaks his back falling from electric bike

Incident happened at his home in California

VIDEO: Internet famous Yukon-based bhangra dancer explores Vancouver Island

Gurdeep Pandher spreads joy through dance, forms cross-cultural connections amid pandemic

Unofficial holidays: the weird and wonderful things people celebrate around the world

On any given day of the year, there are several strange, silly or serious holidays to observe

Fraser Valley Bandits advance to CEBL Championship Game

Bandits post comeback 76-75 win over Hamilton Honey Badgers in Saturday’s semifinal

IHIT on scene of suspicious early-morning fire on rural Mission property

Entrance to Gunn Avenue property cordoned off while investigation takes place, updates coming

Moving on: Tanev scores 11 seconds into OT as Canucks oust Wild

Vancouver beats Minnesota 5-4 to move into first round of NHL playoffs

Most Read