Even though she recently gave up living on her own in her farmhouse and moved 14 miles into a senior-living apartment in southeastern Minnesota, Anna Stoehr is still as witty and vibrant as ever while reflecting on turning 113 years old.
With children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren in attendance — and a cake ablaze with the correct number of candles — Minnesota’s most senior of senior citizens put another birthday behind her and continues to swiftly move up the “oldest living” lists: eighth among Americans and 13th in the world.
Stoehr, born Oct. 15, 1900, near Manning, Iowa, said there have been multiple parties marking her latest birthday on Tuesday. Pressed for details on how she celebrated, Stoehr responded, “Nothing I can tell you about. Just going to parties, that’s all.”
Other than her move in June to Green Prairie Place in Plainview from the farm on the edge of Potsdam, Stoehr said nothing has really changed since birthday 112. “Trying to stay healthy,” she said. “I’m just the same.”
She said “taking a nap takes care of quite a bit” of her time each day, but daughter Lois Neighbors chimed in that Stoehr stays busy.
“It’s more than take a nap,” said Neighbors, 77, of Emmetsburg, Iowa. “She loves to play bingo here, 500, Scrabble when she has visitors. … She loves games of any kind. She is very sharp. She can remember everything.”
Stoehr, whose husband died in 1998, still tends to most of her own needs. The only help with the day’s routines are that breakfast is delivered to her apartment each morning and an aide makes sure she takes her medication, what little there is.
Marlene Stoehr, 81, of Shoreview, said Wednesday morning she was “kind of tired after following around” her 113-year-old mother-in-law during multiple days of celebrations, which included a gathering of 170 or so people Sunday at a church in Elgin, Minn., and another bash Tuesday at Green Prairie Place.
“She’s been partying for three days now,” Marlene Stoehr said.
According to the Gerontology Research Group (www.grg.org), which tracks and verifies the world’s oldest people, Stoehr has moved in the past year from the 14th-oldest living American to eighth and from the 30th-oldest documented person in the world to 13th.
Neighbors said there’s every reason to expect her mother to top those lists someday.
“She’s healthy,” Neighbors said. “I got out the checkbook to renew the [Rochester] Post-Bulletin subscription for either three months, six months or a year. She said we might as well go for a year.”
The Gerontology Research Group lists 115-year-old Misao Okawa of Japan as the world’s oldest person, born March 5, 1898. Tops among Americans is 114-year-old Jeralean Talley, of Inkster, Mich. She was born on May 23, 1899. They are among just seven on the list who were born in the 1800s.