Ella Stein turns 105 years old on Jan. 2. (Contributed Photo/Willie Nelson)

Ella Stein celebrates 105 years young

A friend of a local woman celebrates Stein’s passion for music and her long, rich life

Happy 105th Birthday Ella!

Being 105 years old is one thing, but still being as active, and doing almost everything herself is another.

Ella was born on Jan. 2, 1916 in London, England, the youngest of five children. She was raised in a loving home by her parents ,who moved from Scotland not very long before she was born. They were “True Scots” as she calls them. Growing up, Ella had a love for many things, but her main passions were ballet and music. It tore her in two after her father told her that she had to choose between the two. At the age of 12, she made the diffcult decision to study music.

To this day, she plays the piano. Even now, she can play some of the most difficult pieces from Chopin, Beethoven, Debussy, Mozart. She surely is an exceptional piano player when she plays all of these beautiful classics. I asked if she wished she had chosen ballet, and sometimes she wished she had. She also realized that she would not be able to perform ballet now at 105, but playing the piano is something she can carry on, as long as the piano is near.

Ella lost her husband at a very early age, while living in Czechoslovakia, where he was working as a doctor. After the war, Ella came back to London to look for work. She then found an opportunity with the British Army, working as a welfare officer.

She managed a recreational building, which provided the means of relaxation and entertainment for the post-war troops going through difficult times. It was during this time that I believe Ella was exactly where she needed to be. She did a great job working with these men who had been through so much, men from all different nationalities and backgrounds. She had back then, and she still has today, a talent to make people feel important, that they matter, and showing interest in those around her.

Ella later worked for the United States Air Force in Labrador, where she met some great musical entertainers like Frank Sinatra and Sammy Davis, Jr. In her life, she felt very honoured to also have met Lady Di, Prince Charles, and Vera Lynn.

Ella was posted in many places, and travelled to many different parts of the world. Some of the countries that she had visited are Germany, Egypt, Labrador, Czechoslovakia, India, and many more.

She loves the diversity of all people from all over the world, from the boy who grew up in the slums to the Inuits she lived with to the people from Egypt. Her interests and acceptance for others still shows to this day.

She told me “We could hardly communicate with each other, but we always managed, and I loved them all.” I could sit and listen to her for hours, my life has been inspired by her love and interest for life and others.

Congratulations Ella, Happy 105th Birthday.

agassizHarrison Hot Springs

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