Clara turns 100; doesn’t feel any older
News Report Staff
When asked how it felt to turn 100 years old, Clara Wolf was quick to answer that it didn’t feel much different than being 99 years old.
“I don’t feel any different,” said Clara with a smile. “I am working on 101.”
The Effingham resident celebrated her 100th birthday on August 9 with family and friends planning a week filled with birthday festivities — from a family reunion, to a birthday party, to a day at the Effingham County Fairgrounds to watch the horse races, to an open house at her church.
Clara, who visits the fairgrounds each year to watch the races, was joined this year by several members of her family and was treated to a special surprise when the entire grandstands sang Happy Birthday to her.
“The whole week of her birthday was filled with so much activity, and she just went right along with it,” said her daughter, Norma Lansing. “She likes to go, so we take her.”
Two of her other daughters, Irene Blievernicht and Joan Campbell, agreed that their mother’s birthday celebration was full of memories.
“It is awesome and overwhelming,” said Joan, when talking about her mother turning 100.
Irene agreed that being able to celebrate 100 years was incredible.
“It’s just fantastic, great and wonderful. It is just awesome,” she added.
On the door of her apartment at The Glenwood in Effingham, Clara has a paper birthday cake that her grandson made for her that represents her milestone birthday and her four generations of descendants.
Clara’s family includes five children — Irene Blievernicht, of Teutopolis; Donald Wolf, of Paxton; Joan Campbell, of Neoga; Elaine Kottke, of Forsyth; and Norma Lansing of Effingham; 16 grandchildren; 35 great-grandchildren; and 10 great-great grandchildren.
Each of the paper layers of the cake has a candle for each of her descendants and their spouses, with each of her five children’s families represented by a color in a layer. The top of the cake featured Clara’s name and a candle with the number 100 written on it. A memory paper to the side pays respect to those family members who preceded her in death, including her husband Reinhart, who died in 1993.
Looking around Clara’s apartment, it is obvious the 100-year-old keeps herself busy with activities.
The walls in the living room display paintings she has worked on over the past couple of years. She paints one a month. The kitchen table is covered with puzzles, some completed and some in the works; and a small table by the window holds about 20 brightly-colored figures that bob and dance around providing entertainment.
“She has always been very busy,” said Norma, who added her mother always had a large garden and enjoyed farming.
Clara’s hobbies and interests also included bowling, where she participated in a league up until she was in her 90s; and volunteering at the Silk Purse Thrift Store, which she did up until a few years ago. She enjoys quilting, reading, sewing and watching Cardinal baseball.
Looking back over her 100 years, Clara said the biggest change is the advancements in the agriculture industry. Having spent much of her life on a farm, Clara said the big farm machinery is a big change from her younger years when farming was done with horses.
Clara and her husband, Reinhart, who were married on April, 13, 1936, owned a farm in Jasper County, where Clara lived until moving to Effingham after her husband’s death.
According to Joan, her mother was very strong and cared for their father, Reinhart, who suffered from Alzheimer’s in his final years.
When passing advice to her family, Clara says, “Just work hard and save for your family all your life, like we did.”