Rarely does so much human experience and longevity find itself in one room!
On Wednesday October 26th, 16 people 100 years old and older from the Elderbridge service area attended the Centenarian Recognition Event at The Highlands Retirement Living Community in Spencer.
The honored guests were greeted with a yellow rose symbolizing friendship and good health as they arrived the afternoon of the 26th.
The event included remarks and greetings from CEO/Administrator David West of St. Luke Homes and Services and Marketing/Public Relations Director Kris Todd. A formal video greeting and congratulation from Governor Terry Branstad was then shown as certificates of recognition signed by the Governor were presented. This was followed by a social hour and a music video showcasing photos from the Centenarians’ lives.
Centenarians also had short biographies read aloud, most instilling nostalgia and the virtues of living in Iowa all these years and how they credited their longevity to good genetics, faith in God and abstaining from alcohol and tobacco.
While all of the Centenarians who decided to attend the event in person were women, a smaller number of 100-plus year old men were also found in the 29 counties of Elderbridge. In our service area women over 100 years old outnumbered their male counterparts approximately ten to one. In total, Iowa is home to more than 800 centenarians, and according to the Iowa Department on Aging’s (IDA) Erin Kurth, “The Elderbridge area in northwest and north central Iowa does have the largest number of centenarians per capita in the state.”
Other Centenarian Recognition Events were also held this fall in Des Moines, Cedar Rapids, Davenport, Council Bluffs and Independence, hosted by the other 5 agencies on aging in Iowa.
Elderbridge and the IDA hope to see even more 100+ citizens at next year’s event. Large increases in the number of centenarians are expected in the coming years according to IDA, and with it even more hundred year stories to be shared at future recognition events.
Elderbridge Centenarians-Interesting Facts:
In the Elderbridge Service area 117 centenarians were found
The oldest-108 year old, Bessie Hendricks of Lake City, born November 7, 1907 ( As of 10/26/16 the oldest person in Iowa is Tressa Bartholomew of Carlisle born March 30, 1905. The oldest person in the United States is Adele Dunlap of New Jersey who was born December 12, 1902.)
If you’re a baseball fan….Only Bessie Hendricks and Margaret Lacey of Fonda of the 117 centenarians had been born yet the last time the Chicago Cubs baseball team won a World Series, which happened on October 14, 1908
The youngest-Irene Westfall of Guthrie Center, born Christmas Eve, December 24, 1916
3 centenarians each had last names of either Carlson or Peters
7 centenarians with the first name of Alice—This was a popular first name for girls at the time because of Alice Roosevelt (February 12, 1884 – February 20, 1980) She was the eldest child of U.S. President Theodore Roosevelt and the only child of Roosevelt and his first wife, Alice Hathaway Lee. Roosevelt was still a popular political figure at the time our centenarians were born, having finished his term as our 26th President in 1909.
12 centenarians on our list still live at home
And St. Luke Homes and Services has the most number of centenarians of any care facility in the Elderbridge area with 11 people in their 4 facilities