Bessie Roffey on her 111th birthday
|Birth:||2 March 1897|
London, England, UK
|Death:||17 June 2008|
High Prairie, Alberta, Canada
|Age:||111 years, 107 days|
Bessie Marion Roffey (née Cazalet; 2 March 1897 – 17 June 2008) was a British-born Canadian supercentenarian whose age has been validated by the Gerontology Research Group (GRG). She was the second-oldest known person in Canada at the time of her death, behind New Brunswick’s Margaret Fitzgerald.
Bessie Roffey was born Bessie Marion Cazalet on 2 March 1897 in London, England, to parents James and Rosalie Cazalet. She was of French Huguenot ancestry, which she was always proud of. Her father died of meningitis when she was seven or eight years old (sources differ). She was then placed into a girl’s school for descendants of French Huguenots, and disliked it vehemently.
In 1906, she and her mother emigrated to Canada. The trip was paid for by the Actors’ Benevolent Fund, a company that supports actors and stage managers suffering from hardship. She moved around frequently, and found it difficult to make friends as a result. However, she found other ways to be happy, such as exploring bushes and woodland. Her mother later remarried to elevator agent TJ Taylor.
In the early 1920s, Roffey went to Florida for a year. When she returned to Alberta, she met her future husband Billy Roffey after she was hired to cook and clean for his family. The couple were married on 22 November 1923. Billy later became a logger, and the couple purchased a farm in 1937, eventually retiring in 1979. The couple had one son, Donald, who later married a woman named Junell.
Billy died in 1994 aged 92 after 70 years of marriage. After her husband’s death, Roffey continued to live in Kinuso, a small hamlet in Alberta, until 2004, when she was 107. She then moved into a care facility in High Prairie. In her later years, she enjoyed gardening and told stories about her life to many people.
Roffey died on 17 June 2008 at the age of 111 years, 107 days. Along with her son and daughter-in-law, she was survived by four grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.