Burdett Sisler, or simply Burd as he is known to his friends, was happy to celebrate a major milestone on the weekend.
As one of Canada’s oldest surviving Second World War veterans, Sisler marked his 104th birthday surrounded by family and friends at a gathering on Saturday at the Masonic Temple on Jarvis Street. He turned 104 on April 14.
“Today is great fun and to be here with my family and friends, it stirs up a lot of old memories,” Sisler said.
When asked how he felt about turning 104, Sisler laughed.
“Well, it feels the same as 103.”
Sisler, who still lives independently in his own home, said the key to a long life is staying busy.
“You’ve got to keep your activities going and you can’t keep still. You’ve always got to find something to keep you busy.”
Sisler enlisted in the Armed Forces on Nov. 3, 1943 and served with the Royal Canadian Legion Horse Artillery. He was later transferred to the Royal Canadian Electrical Mechanical Engineers until he was discharged on Nov. 27, 1946.
He was trained as a communications mechanic and one of the pieces of equipment he said he worked on was radar, which was new technology at the time.
As luck would have it, he said working on radar screens were very similar to the technology used in television and radio repair.
After the war, Sisler moved to Fort Erie where he started his own television and radio repair shop with another servicemen.
“I still remember the advertisement. It was ‘If you’ve got a whistler, call Hanes and Sisler for TV repair,’” Sisler said.
He repaired televisions and radios for more than a decade until he went on to take a customs job at the border, where he worked at the Peace Bridge for 29 years.
Sister retired in 1979, but he’s continued play an active role in the community. He bowls at Carroll’s Bowling Lanes as often as he can and has been a member of Royal Canadian Legion Branch 71 for more than 30 years.
He was married to his loving wife Mae, and they have five children: Norm, Betti, Sharon, Lorraine and Burdett, as well as too many grandchildren and great-grandchildren to count.