By Marvin Baker, a new weekly column in The Kenmare News
Posted 10/09/18 (Tue)
Back in August, the Grand Forks Herald published an article about Iris Westman, a woman from Northwood who had just celebrated her 113th birthday.
Iris was born in 1905 during the time Theodore Roosevelt was president: That was 5 years before the passing of Halley’s Comet, 15 years before radio existed and 19 years before the completion of the
She remains a farmer, at least on paper, as she rents out the family farm and is unofficially the oldest farmer in the
What do you suppose has given Iris so many years? What is her secret? Just think, this woman was 24 years old when the stock market crashed in 1929. Oh, the stories she must have.
In 1969, there were 4,000 people in the
The secret to longevity is varied. Some say it’s a daily shot of whiskey, some say walks in the cold, winter air, other say reading the Bible and still others say they stay as active as they can.
There’s no doubt health care advancements have changed how long people live. All we have to do is look at life expectancy from 1700 to 2000 to realize that.
In 1700, life expectancy in the
Somewhat of a national oddity in these statistics are three men, President John Adams, Benjamin Franklin and President Thomas Jefferson, who all lived well beyond the normal life expectancy of their day.
Today we have more knowledgeable medical professionals and far better technology, numerous diseases have either been very well controlled or eradicated and people are more careful.
But there is no doubt staying active has a lot to do with it.
As an example, there’s a woman in
Jim Hillestad, a World War II veteran, is 97 years old and heads down to the
Jim, who owned an antique dealership for many years, still drives around Kenmare in his black Ford Ranger. It doesn’t matter if it’s 100 above zero or 30 below zero, he has his afternoon routine. You’ll see him picking up the mail at the post office before he stops at the senior center.
Grace Allex is 91 and is one of the oldest residents of
She is also active in her church groups and likes to visit with people.
Grace is also a wonderful cook and baker. Some of her dishes and desserts are featured at weddings and funerals in
Finally, there’s Grace Link, the wife of Gov. Art Link. She turned 100 in September with a party on the capitol grounds in
Her family threw the party, but hundreds of well wishers came from all over the
Governor Link lived to be 96 and passed away in 2010.
When we think about these people, we have to consider all the changes they have seen in their lifetime. As an example, Grace Link didn’t have electricity growing up with her family in Cartwright. Jim Hillestad accomplished a number of things and did some traveling before World War II broke out and Grace Allex saw her community grow from less than 200 people to the approximate 8,000 it has now.
If you see any of these people or know someone else in this category, they deserve the respect and admiration of all of us. They earned it.