Sweet-toothed Richmond centenarian jokes his way to 100th birthday

He may be about to turn 100 on Thursday, but Meros Leckow hasn’t lost his sense of humour – or his appetite for desserts.

Thought to be the eldest member of Richmond’s deep-seated Ukrainian community, Leckow moved to the city from his native Winnipeg in 1985.

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He left behind in Manitoba a part-time career in the entertainment industry, where he flourished as a Ukrainian tap-dancer/violinist, before touring the world as principal dancer with the New York-based Don Cossack Chorus and Dancers.

But he brought with him to Richmond his dancing expertise, which he put to good use, teaching at the local Ukrainian Community Society Of Ivan Franko.

He was recently recognised by the society as being their oldest member and thanked for gracing their library with a wealth of Ukrainian cultural books.

Asked by the Richmond News if he was looking forward to his 100th birthday, Leckow smiled and said, “I didn’t realize it was that close. I hope I make it.”

And on the big day itself, one of his two children, daughter Marcia – who he lives with near No. 1 and Williams roads – is bringing in a banquet of Ukrainian cuisine, including holopchi (Ukrainian cabbage roll), perogies, mushroom gravy and a special cake that resembles one from his favourite bakery in Winnipeg.

On the cake, it will read, said Marcia, “Happy Birthday Didi,” after the Ukrainian name for grandfather, pronounced “geegee,” which is how his three grandchildren and three great grandchildren refer to him.

Leckow said he can’t think of any particular secret for his longevity, although his daughter said he rarely takes medicine and hasn’t touched a drop of alcohol since he was about 60.

“But he does loves sweets and desserts, he can’t get enough of them,” added Marcia.

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