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A special celebration

Clarkfield Care Center recognized 4 centenarians with a birthday party

Angie Lee

jisaackson@marshallindependent.com

CLARKFIELD — Seldom does one hear about one centenarian, someone 100 years old or older, let alone four of them. Rarer still to have all four centenarians in one location such as the Clarkfield Care Center.

On Wednesday, the Clarkfield Care Center held a birthday party reception for four women who have achieved such a remarkable age. Family and friends gathered around Grace Larsen, Elise Husby, Eunice Anderson and Angie Lee to celebrate these remarkable women’s birthdays.

Larsen turned 100 years young on March 12, having been born in 1916 on her parents’ homestead in Montana, according to her daughter Georgia. The family moved back to the Clarkfield area not long after Larsen was born. She grew up and went to school in Clarkfield.

“She was second to the youngest in a family of nine children,” her daughter said, “and the only one still living.”

Larsen married her husband Olaf and had three children, two girls and one boy. She has been active in church and ladies aid, was a Sunday School teacher and choir member. She had been a housewife until she moved into the Clarkfield Care Center in 2008.

“She loved to bake and was a good cook,” Georgia said of her mother.

Larsen has 11 grandchildren, lots of great-grandchildren and a few great great-grandchildren.

When asked what contributed to Larsen’s longevity, the answer was that she never drank or smoked but led a healthy life.

At 101 years old, Elise Husby is the second to the youngest of the four centenarians, having been born on March 31, 1915.

Husby has lived in Clarkfield her entire life, She married Orville Husby with whom she had three children, two boys and one girl.

Like Larsen, Husby was active in church choir and also in the Legion Women’s Auxiliary. She enjoyed making crafts for the Auxiliary’s mother-daughter events, according to her daughter-in-law Sharon.

Unlike Larsen, Husby worked outside the home as a secretary for the Clarkfield elevator during the day and at the Clarkfield Care Center in the evenings. She was also a telephone operator back when they had the multiple-cord switchboards. Sharon remembers Husby’s call response as having been, “Number, please.”

“When she retired, she hurried up and made quilts for everyone,” Sharon said. “I think she thought she was going to die, but she’s been here quite a bit longer than she expected.”

Sharon also said that once, years ago, when her mother-in-law went to visit her daughter in Colorado, she packed fresh eggs in her suitcase to take along.

Husby has 12 grandchildren and two great-grandchildren from her three children.

Husby’s secret to longevity is staying active.

At 105, Eunice Anderson still likes to tell stories. She was telling her guests at the party about how the barn on their farm had been destroyed twice, once by fire and once by tornado. Family members confirmed the events.

She was born on a farm near Hazel Run on Nov. 30, 1911, and attended a country school while growing up.

An independent career woman for most of her life, Anderson moved to Minneapolis after high school and went to work at Bemis Bag Company making flour sacks.

Anderson was an avid traveler in her younger days, having attended multiple world’s fairs, visiting the Space Needle in Seattle, and traveling to Hawaii and other exciting places.

She moved into the Clarkfield Care Center in 2006.

Her secret to longevity, according to her brother, Erling, was, “Wherever she went, she was the boss.”

The queen of the day, at 110, was Angie Lee. She was born on Nov. 30, 1906, in her parents’ home in Dawson where she lived until she got married in 1936. She worked in her father’s mercantile in Dawson until she married.

Lee married Art Lee of Clarkfield, and the couple moved into Clarkfield where Art was the manager of the Cenex station and also started the transport company in Montevideo, according to relatives.

The couple had one son, Jon Lee, who traveled for business internationally and died last January.

Angie Lee was a housewife before she moved into the Clarkfield Care Center in 2007 after having broken her hip on a shopping trip.

“Angie is a big sports fan,” niece-in-law Louise Danielson said. “She received a big birthday package from the (Minnesota) Twins both last year and this year. And, she’s really high on the Lynx.”

Danielson also said that Lee has a sharp memory. She said the two met for the first time at Lee’s 100th birthday party, and Lee remembered her name the next time they visited.

Lee once told a visitor from the Twin Cities that her secret to longevity was to “just keep breathing.”

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