At 103 years old, Ivanhoe woman says patience is a virtue

Photo by Jody Isaackson Esther Wayland celebrated her 103 birthday on Monday a with friends and relatives enjoying cake and ice cream at the Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe. Her nephew, Paul Olson of Hendricks, presented her with the cake.

IVANHOE — After 100 years, a person learns a thing or two. And 103-year-old Esther Wayland of Ivanhoe has plenty to share.

Members of her family and the staff at Divine Providence Health Center in Ivanhoe helped Wayland celebrate her birthday Monday.

A retired teacher, Wayland said the one thing she learned through teaching was patience. It is the one virtue she highly recommends to others, especially if they are interested in living past 100 years of age.

“People should have a lot of patience working with older people,” Wayland said. “I don’t feel old enough to give advice.”

Nephew Paul Olson of Hendricks brought over cake and ice cream Monday. The staff prepared coffee and friends and family gathered to wish Wayland another year of following politics and staying up on current events.

“She grew up on the family farm in Hansonville Township, Lincoln County, about 7 miles northeast of Hendricks,” Olson said. “Esther’s parents farmed the same land until my own father sold the farm in 1978. Her parents were Amos and Ella Olson, a farmer and a housewife.”

Wayland went to a local country school near the farm as a child but graduated from the high school in Hendricks. She later attended teacher’s college in Mankato.

“They called it ‘normal school’ (preparing teachers to work in public elementary schools),” Wayland said. “I graduated in 1946.”

Wayland married Lyell Wayland on Sept. 13, 1943, in the Central Lutheran Church in Minneapolis. They lived in Minneapolis and St Paul for four years and worked at Northwest Airlines. They returned to Ivanhoe when Lyell purchased the barber shop from his father. Lyell was a barber for many years until retiring in 1991.

“Lyell was the barber in Ivanhoe for well over 30 years,” Olson said. “His father before him, Charley Wayland, had also been the town barber in Ivanhoe.”

Esther Wayland went on to teach at a one-room country school back in Lincoln County, then elementary public school in Ivanhoe. Her teaching career spanned more than 30 years, Olson said.

Esther and Lyell had one daughter, Margo, who followed in Esther’s footsteps of teaching. Margo Neilson teaches kindergarten and first grade in San Francisco, California. Margo has one daughter, Chloe, who also lives in San Francisco.

“Chloe works for an affordable housing organization and is active in state politics,” Olson said.

Olson said Esther has many interests including cats; she has always been especially fond of cats. Wayland said she also enjoyed gardening while on the farm. She did and still does love to read.

Wayland celebrated her big centennial birthday in 2014 with a large community celebration at Bethany-Elim Church in Ivanhoe.

“At that point, Esther was still living on her own in an apartment which she had occupied for several years,” Olson said. “One thing that got some local newspaper attention was Esther being proud and eager to vote in the November 2016 election, at age 102. She’s always been interested in politics and wouldn’t have missed voting for the world.”

When asked to comment on the current presidency, Wayland said that President Donald Trump could be more accurate in giving statistics and that she had preferred President Barack Obama.