Vancouver Was Awesome: Pansy May Stuttard, 1958

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A Vancouver time travelogue brought to you by Past Tense.

Pansy Stuttard kept her money at home because she didn’t trust banks. When two men stole $15,000 from her White Rock home, the 84 year-old fired her shotgun at them as they fled, but missed. She was ready if they ever returned.

Born Pansy May Miller in Syracuse, New York, in 1875, she came to BC about 1905 and married a sea captain soon after. Together they purchased five boats for a freight business along the coast, and Pansy became a licensed skipper. The couple sold their business and went on to run five hotels in Vancouver, “just after the saloons were closed,” she explained to a reporter. “They had soft drinks, near beer, and girls.”

Pansy was also an aspiring artist and big game hunter. She dropped out of art school because it cramped her style, which, she said, was more geared towards landscapes than the “straight lines” they taught.

On the floor of her living room lay a rug from the skin of a bear she killed in Capilano Canyon soon after arriving in BC. She never killed another bear because she felt they were just big dogs. She also had deer, caribou, moose, and cougar trophies adorning her abode.

At the time of the robbery, Pansy was recovering from another incident in which she suffered a blow to the head and an injured leg. That time, she lay in her home for four days until someone found her and called an ambulance, a priest and a hearse, assuming she was dead. “But,” she said, “I’m going to live to be a hundred. The Lord don’t want me and the devil won’t take me.”

Source: Photo by Ralph Bower, Vancouver Sun, 3 January 1958

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