Celebrating Steele County’s oldest resident
This past week I had the pleasure to interview a woman who turned 107 years old on Sunday.
My only regret with this story is that I didn’t get to personally meet Elrose Milverstedt, who grew up in Dodge County and now lives in Owatonna. Knowing that social distancing requirements are in effect right now with long-term care facilities, we arranged for a phone interview.
Before the interview took place, Milverstedt had one simple request from me. She wanted to know if she was the oldest person living in Steele County. I checked with a few of my sources, including the Steele County Recorder’s Office, but no one seems to have that information readily available. The History Center doesn’t know either.
I was able to find that the oldest person in Minnesota reigns from New Ulm. Erna Zahn turned a 112 just last month. She is reportedly the 15th oldest person in the U.S. and the 55th oldest in the world. It appears Milverstedt has a little ways to go to move up on that ladder.
When I shared with Milverstedt that the oldest person in the state was 112, she acknowledged she had a few years to go yet. She quickly followed up by saying, “I don’t think I will make it that long.”
I will go out on a limb to say that Milverstedt IS the oldest living resident in Steele County. If someone can prove me wrong, please let me know. I would like to know for obvious reasons as I know Milverstedt would like to have that knowledge as well.
In the United States, only 22 out of every 100,000 people reach age 100. Only 2 in 100,000 women live to age 110, and 2 men among 1 million.
One thing that amazed me is how sharp Milverstedt’s mind is. She carries on a normal conversation almost better than some other much younger people I know do.
Her secrets to longevity? Milverstedt didn’t hesitate in saying she has lived a life of clean living, including not smoking, drinking very little and exercising regularly. She still walks around alone in her apartment.
It’s mind boggling to think about all the changes Milverstedt has seen in her lifetime over the past 107 years.
Though she didn’t know at the time of the interview, Milverstedt ended up celebrating her 107th birthday with all the bells, whistles and horns of the Owatonna Police and Owatonna Fire departments.
I’d say I hope she goes in hot pursuit of living many more years, but I don’t think that’s on her wish list at all. At any rate, happy 107th birthday, Elrose.