The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) will honor Montana Centenarians Tuesday, September 13 in Billings at the Billings Hotel and Convention Center during a luncheon starting at 11:30 a.m.
The luncheon is part of the 48th annual Governor’s Conference on Aging. Governor Steve Bullock will serve as the event’s keynote speaker. Approximately 15 Montana Centenarians from all over Montana plan to attend the luncheon. These are Montanans who will turn age 100 or older as of December 31, 2016.
“It is truly an honor today to celebrate our Montana Centenarians,” said Governor Bullock. “We can all learn so much through their vast amount of experience and valuable life lessons. These people are Montana treasures to the core.”
DPHHS recently asked Montanans to submit the names of Centenarians, and that list is at 138 names and growing. The DPHHS Centenarian list of those who are currently age 101 or older is as follows:
- 1 is age 108
- 3 are age 107
- 5 are age 106
- 7 are age 105
- 11 are age 104
- 11 are age 103
- 16 are age 102, and
- 36 are age 101.
The one individual who is age 108 lives in Great Falls, one of the 107 year olds live in Billings, while other two are in Missoula and Miles City.
In addition, DPHHS recently asked Montana Centenarians their secret to longevity, the most amazing event in their life, a favorite quote and various other insights into their lives.
Here are a few of the responses of those planning to attend the luncheon:
Mildred ‘Millie’ Peterson Eyre, age 106, Billings. Eyre said at the age of four months, she arrived came to Hingham, MT with her folks and three older siblings. They came via an emigrant train with all their belongings. She states when the family arrived at the homestead, there was nothing there. ‘So my folks pitched a tent and lived in it until her father and an uncle built their house,” she said.
Margaret Carranza, age 105, Lambert. Carranza states that in 1916 disease and famine during the Mexican Revolution claimed the life of six of the nine children in her family. She continues to be full of life. She loves summer and spends time in her yard raking, chopping wood and even killing an occasional snake.
Bernard ‘Barney’ Meyers, age 106, Billings. Meyers graduated from high school in Wibaux in 1927. He attributes his secret to longevity to ‘genes and exercise.’ He also says he chose the right grandparents. He also states that he eats lots of fruits and vegetables and walked until he was age 100. His favorite quote is ‘live each day like it’s your last one, someday you’ll get it right’.
Thelma Allen Green, age 102, Billings. Green said her secret to longevity is due to medial science and Vitamin B12. She said she gets her hair done once a week and regularly visits Starbucks with her family.
Lavina ‘Bonnie’ Grossheusch, age 100, Billings. Grossheusch attributes her longevity to heredity as one of her sisters lived to be 101. She does daily meditation exercises and goes for lots of indoor walks.
Minnie D. Kranzler, age 107, Billings. Kranzler attributes her longevity to not drinking ice water. She also likes to exercise and has a positive attitude. “You try your best every day,” she said.
Additional Centenarians planning to attend include: Wayne Bahr, age 100, Sidney; Mary Cann, age 102, Billings; Madge Hoersten, age 100, Billings; William ‘Bill’ Smith, age 100, Billings; Lilly Ryan, age 100, Missoula; Ida Suter, age 102, Billings; and Raymond Willard Zell, age 101, Shelby.
The annual Conference on Aging is planned with the help of local citizens and focuses on issues of local interest related to Montana seniors and their families. This year’s conferences will cover a variety of topics including Alzheimer’s, estate planning, healthy aging, fraud and abuse, drug interaction, home safety, identity theft, grandparents raising grandchildren, older drivers, and affordable, safe senior living.
According to DPHHS officials, Montana has one of the fastest growing 65 and older populations in the nation. In Montana, 1,065 people turn 65 every month or 12,775 people per year. And, this trend will continue for the next 16 years.
Additional conference information can be found here.