100-year-old celebrates 'a blessed life'

Photos by Daniel Vasta/The Herald
Cindy Hardesty of Dale, left, greets St. Charles resident Marian Caldemeyer with flowers during Marian's 100th birthday party at the health campus in Jasper on Sunday.


Marian (Meyer) Caldemeyer is taking life one day at a time.

“It just doesn’t seem possible to be 100,” the 100-year-old Holland native said. “I have a good mind and I have so many friends and it’s just wonderful.”

Marian, born on June 11, 1919, turns 100 today. Friends and family held a birthday party for her Sunday at St. Charles Health Campus in Jasper. She is the oldest person living at the facility and has been there for 10 years.

She grew up on a farm in rural Holland where she milked cows and helped her father, Henry Meyer, plant crops. She enjoyed horseback riding on the farm with her childhood friend Irene Davis.

Marian attended first and second grade at Tormohlen School, just a quarter-mile from her home in Holland. She was the only student and said she learned math by counting corn kernels.

Tormohlen School disbanded as she was entering the third grade. She transferred to Holland School and attended until 1933 when she entered Holland High School. There were only 16 graduates in the Class of 1937 and she is the last surviving member.

After graduation, Marian worked at the Westside grocery store in Holland until she had to quit to take care of her mother, Mildred Meyer, who was suffering from heart disease. Her mother died in 1943 at the age of 49.

St. Charles resident Marian Caldemeyer embraces her nephew-in-law, Jon Wibbeler of Holland, during Marian's 100th birthday party at the health campus in Jasper on Sunday.

Before her mother’s death, Marian met her husband, Ervin Caldemeyer, who was working at Holland Custard and Ice Cream Co. He had attended Purdue University to become an electrician. They married in 1944.

Marian had her first child, Judy Satkamp, in 1948 and her second child, Mark Caldemeyer, in 1961.

Marian has been active in a number of clubs and organizations in her life, including bridge club, working as a manager of a gift shop in the former St. Joseph’s Hospital in Huntingburg and organizing Girl Scouts in Holland. Marian also enjoys traveling and has visited all 50 states.

“She’s a loving person that cares about her family,” said Gary Meyer, Marian’s nephew who lives in Seymour. “She’s there for everyone.”

She was also active in her church, St. James Lutheran Church in Holland, teaching Sunday school to seventh- and eighth-graders, in addition to singing in the church choir. In 1960, she was asked by the church headquarters to become the secretary of education for the national board in Minneapolis, which she held until her son was born.

“She likes to be involved in things,” said Betty Wibbeler, Marian’s niece who is from Holland. “She’s just a wonderful lady and she loves to be around people.”

A cake for St. Charles resident Marian Caldemeyer is set out with a photo of her at the house she was born during Marian's 100th birthday party at the health campus in Jasper on Sunday.

Wibbeler said Marian has a great sense of humor and is grateful for everything her family does for her.

“She really looks forward to her birthday party every year,” she said. “She enjoys being around her family.”

Marian’s husband, Ervin, died in 1988.

Marian moved into St. Charles Health Campus shortly after her 90th birthday. She said she remained active for many years by using her walker to pass out daily prayers to residents. She also tended to flowers in the courtyard at the senior living home until 2014.

Other than some lingering eye and dental problems, Marian has remained relatively healthy. She said she feels blessed to have a sound mind and loves conversing with family and friends who visit her.

“I have always known that I have had a blessed life,” she said. “God gave me wonderful parents, a caring husband, children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren who remember me often and in many ways.”

Marian has four grandchildren and four great-grandchildren.

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