By Stephen Petrick
A remarkable woman who helped the Dorset Lions Club roar for many years is now 100 years young.
Esther Fortney turned 100 years old on Feb. 14. She celebrated the milestone birthday with a few friends at her new retirement home, The Court at Pringle Creek, in Whitby.
Esther spent much of her working life in Toronto, where she ran a food operation and worked as a legal secretary.
In her retirement years, she moved to the Dorset area and became an integral part of the local Lions Club, over a span of about 35 years. Her husband, Gino Ballestrin, who died in 2020, was a past president and was involved in the construction of the clubhouse. Esther also served stints as the president, secretary and bulletin editor.
She was known for other roles in the community too; for 17 years she worked as an assistant librarian for the Dorset branch of the Haliburton County Public Library.
Esther’s friend and fellow Lion, John Shepherd, described her as a sweet and incredibly smart woman, who has remained sharp and has kept a great sense of humour and love for life, throughout her many years.
“She likes to look out the window and do crosswords. She also likes to watch, hockey and baseball and play solitaire,” Shepherd said.
He and a fellow Lion travelled to Whitby to help her celebrate her birthday with staff and fellow guests at The Court at Pringle Creek.
“She’s doing really well, she’s a sweetheart,” he said.