Chemainus’ Howie Valleau looks like your average 70-year-old, playing a couple of rounds of golf a week and maintaining an independent lifestyle in his home.
The only thing is he’s not in his 70s. You’d never know it, but Valleau is 91.
“I guess I’ve been luckier than a lot of people,” maintains the longtime Mount Brenton Golf Club member.
But, he concedes, “I’ve had quite a few repairs to the old body.”
That includes a stint in the heart, eyes and ears adjustments and a knee replacement – much to be expected for someone his age.
“A couple of things I’d like to have done to the back, but that gets a bit tedious,” Valleau added.
Times are quite different for him now than they used to be.
“I’ve got nobody to talk to much anymore in my era,” Valleau pointed out.
“I lived and worked all my life in the forest industry. A lot of my buddies are all leaving.
“Things have changed so much in the industry, I don’t even know what’s going on.”
Valleau retired right at the age of 65, give or take a few days, and that was already more than a quarter century ago.
“The last 10 years, I had the best job in my life,” he said.
“I enjoyed it. I had very few bad days. If you don’t enjoy it, don’t do it.
“Time goes pretty quick. When I retired, I pushed the door shut and never looked back. My job, I said to myself, when I retire I’m done. I retired and that was it, take whatever came along.”
Valleau’s affiliation with golf goes way back, although it was off and on at times.
“I golfed for a couple of years and found I couldn’t afford to golf and raise a family so I put the clubs in the woodshed,” he recalled.
Valleau’s daughter Lori, now 61, decided she wanted to golf at the age of 12. “I took her down there and got her started,” he indicated. “There were no young people (playing) in those days. I’ve been at it ever since.”
That was in the late 1960s and Valleau also did some curling to keep active, “besides working 90 per cent of the time,” he pointed out.
“I think that’s what keeps you young. Get out of the chair instead of in the chair.”
Valleau still walked the golf course most of the time until recently.
“I could probably go every day,” he noted. “The interest isn’t the same as it used to be.”
Son Ted, who’s retired and lives in Crofton, gets together with him for a game once in a while.
Valleau still manages some decent scores, squeezing into the 80s occasionally for a round of 18, but when that doesn’t happen, there’s usually a good reason. “My putter’s not working very well these days,” he indicated.
“I really try to beat my age every time I’m out there. Put it this way, it’s getting easier every year. My age is getting so high now.”