Second oldest currently living Minnesota citizen
ST. ANTHONY, Minn. (June 19, 2017) ─ Evelyn Kleine, who has lived at St. Anthony Health Center for seven years, will become part of an exclusive but growing group of people as she reaches her 110th birthday on Tues., July 11. Evelyn will become a supercentenarian, someone who has lived to or passed their 110th birthday. According to Robert D. Young, Director of the Gerontology Research Group, she is the second oldest currently living Minnesota citizen, with the next closest being 111 years old. Evelyn’s remarkable birthday milestone will be celebrated with a special event for family members and residents on Tues., July 11 from 1:30-2:30 p.m. in the dining room of St. Anthony Health Center’s sister community, Chandler Place Assisted Living, at 3701 Chandler Drive.
In U.S. records, only 1 in 5 million people reach supercentenarian status. When asked about her upcoming birthday, Evelyn humbly said, “I just worked my way through it. I’ve had a lot of experiences in my life and I’ve enjoyed them all along the way.”
Of Evelyn’s many birthday celebrations, her favorite was when she turned 100 years old in 2007. Evelyn had the opportunity to ride in a convertible at the Columbia Heights Jamboree parade and was the guest of honor at two separate birthday parties, including one at her church, Community United Methodist in Columbia Heights.
When she moved from Northeast Minneapolis to Columbia Heights at the age of 8 years old, there were still dirt roads, and anything north of 44th Avenue was considered “wild country.” She would go sledding on the hills in Columbia Heights and slide across the pond. “That was an accomplishment,” Evelyn said. “It was difficult climbing up the hill and a long ride down. We did a lot of tobogganing.” At the age of 15, Evelyn attended a two-year sewing school. She made dresses as well as men’s clothing in Minneapolis until she later became a wife and homemaker. Although Evelyn never had children, she was married and widowed twice.
Evelyn is not the only long-lived member in her family. Her father was 96 and her grandfather was 94 years old when they passed. She has shared that the secret to a long life is “sometimes in the attitude.” She also advises, “Just behave! No drinking, smoking. Clean living! Ignore trouble.”
Though Evelyn mostly gets around with her wheelchair, she enjoys restorative walking. Currently, she participates in St. Anthony Heath Center’s FIT Functional Fitness program and has made real progress. She has worked up to pedaling three miles in the FIT to Pedal class. As a younger woman, Evelyn hiked three to five miles on the weekends as part of a hiking club. Her favorite pastimes include playing card games, rook, 500, and even learned cribbage for the first time after moving to St. Anthony Health Center.
When Evelyn is out-and-about with her great niece, Joanie Anderson, people cannot believe Evelyn’s age. Joanie says their reactions are priceless. “People are very complimentary of Aunt Ev,” Anderson said. “She is such an inspiration to those of us who know her, too.”