Many times during her 101st birthday celebration held Saturday, July 8, at AgeCare Cariboo Place in Williams Lake, Gerry Bracewell yodelled quietly from her wheelchair.
In a multi-purpose room on the third floor friends and family gathered to honour her, some of them smiling and even yodelling with her.
“I used to yodel on the trails,” she said smiling. “I did it when I was leading to scare the bears away. Those bears – so many grizzlies – didn’t give a hoot if I was killed.”
Bracewell became the province’s first female guide at the age of 18 and the first licensed female guide outfitter in 1945.
She lived and worked in the West Chilcotin where today her son Alex Bracewell continues to run the Bracewell Wilderness Lodge in the Tatlayoko Valley.
According to a slideshow prepared for the party, Gerry was born in Alberta on July 11, 1922.
She spent her childhood exploring outside with her brothers, learning to trap, shoot, hunt and eventually selling the meat from her hunting efforts.
After high school she moved to the Chilcotin where eventually her father-in-law KB Moore became a mentor from whom she learned about horses, mountain riding, ranching, big-game hunting, guide outfitting, a nd how to bcome a “conservationist and steward of the land.”
Gerry has four sons – Martin Moore, the eldest, followed by Barry Moore, Kevan Bracewell and Alex, who is the youngest.
Kevin runs Chilcotin Holidays, a wilderness tourism business in the South Chilcotin area of the Bridge River Valley.
During the party Mayor Surinderpal Rathor stopped by to present Gerry with a card on behalf of the city and on Monday, Cariboo Chilcotin MLA Lorne Doerkson visited her and presented her with a certificate from the province.
Gerry was a long-time Tribune correspondent.